The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Is this 2004, or 1980, or something yet different?

I was looking at a post by Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine called “2012 Election Is Bush-Kerry in Reverse,” likening this election to the one eight years ago, in which, to quote Chait,

The parallels between this year’s presidential election and the one we had eight years ago are striking. Incumbent president with middling approval ratings faces rich guy from Massachusetts with a reputation for flip-flopping.

We all know how that campaign ended up, of course: the incumbent defeated the “rich guy from Massachusetts.” Presumably, Chait favors Obama and wants the same to happen this year.

Many of the people commenting on this post say, in effect, “no, it's more like the 1980 Reagan-Carter election,” and again, we all know how that one ended up too. I don't imagine any of the people making that comparison are Obama-supporting liberals! But in fact, every election has its own factors. Romney, unlike Kerry, didn't claim to be a war hero in a war he then strongly opposed, and he inherited his wealth (and then increased it by good businessmanship, the point he is raising to emphasize his qualifications to handle this economy) while Kerry married his, so the 2004 comparisons are pretty lame. While, compared with 1980, there are also major differences: Reagan had a history of connecting with the people, from his acting background, while Romney is not exactly the warm communicator that Reagan was.

So, yes, there are elements in common with 1980, and also with 2004, but this one looks to play out in a totally different way. And I hesitate to predict what will happen in November based on any of the presidential elections we've had in the past.

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