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.

Monday, September 24, 2012

McCain, Romney, and Obama as candidates

I see a lot of postings on the Net which describe John McCain as a bad candidate in the 2008 election. I don't think he was. If you look at the Real Clear Politics polling data, four years ago, John McCain started off well behind, but in early September pulled ahead of Barack Obama. Then the economy tanked. Nobody could have coped with that. John McCain was not an “economic expert” candidate; he was running his campaign on foreign policy and national defense issues, and the ground shifted. On top of that, McCain was of the same party as the incumbent President, George W. Bush, and bad economic performance hurt him only because voters blamed Bush, and consequently, the Republicans, for the economic problems. McCain, who led by one percentage point, 46.7 to 45.7%, on September 7 and opened up a lead as big as 3 points on one day shortly thereafter, was back down to a tie on the 17th.

No question that Barack Obama is good at campaigning. He knew how to game the rules to beat a clearly front-running Hillary Clinton for the 2008 nomination, but probably won the general election only because of the timing of the economic news. I am certain that if the economy's collapse had taken place two months later, John McCain would be sitting in the White House today, with perhaps Senator Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee challenging his re-election campaign.

In some ways, Mitt Romney is the polar opposite of Barack Obama. Obama is a great campaigner, but has proven himself an incompetent executive. The worst President since Jimmy Carter, Obama has managed to gain support from, if anything, more voters than Mitt Romney simply because of his campaigning skills. While, by contrast, Mitt Romney is not as skilled at campaigning as at running things: a business, like Bain Capital, a nonprofit, like the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Committee, and a State, as Governor of Massachusetts. He's a kind and generous man (how many people would, if they had Romney's wealth, give $4 million to charity in one year? or close down a business to track down an employee's missing daughter?). Yet he has apparently not gotten this across to the public, which thinks Obama — the nastiest kind of Chicago machine politician — is “more likeable” than Mitt Romney. Somehow, though by all reasonable measures, Mitt Romney ought to be ahead in 49 states, Obama leads — although by a small amount — in most polls. This may be becuse he's an honest man, who says what he thinks, unlike most politicians, so he manages to offend some people. And yet, I'm sure that unlike Obama, if Romney succeeds in getting elected, he will do a much better job of actually governing than he has done in running for the office.

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