The Corner

Wanted: Deus Ex Machina

Rich, you have nailed it re the necessity of defeating Barack Obama this fall. But how to do it? Despite Romney’s wins yesterday, there’s still a so-what air about his candidacy; he’s like one of those seat-warmers at the Oscars who slips into the vacancies so as to give the continuing illusion of a packed house. He’s a passionless candidate with a passionless following at a time that positively demands passion in order to counter the great Axelrod Media Machine, the wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic party and its functioning propaganda arm. 

Take the latest Romney “tax” plan. It’s absurd. The zeitgeist is screaming out for a top-to-bottom rethink of the tax system in order to then address the entitlement monster that’s about to devour not only the Treasury, but our unborn children and grandchildren as well. The putative nominee should be promising to abolish the current tax code and repeal the 16th Amendment’s notion of an income tax, and starting a national dialogue during the campaign about exactly what should be taxed and how. That would strike right at the heart of Democrats’ most potent funding mechanism and the single greatest obstacle preventing poor and middle-class people from acquiring wealth. (The day John Kerry proposes a progressive tax on inherited wealth is the day I’ll believe the Democrats are really serious about tax reform.)

Instead, Romney gives us tax-bracket tweaking and — this is rich, coming from a guy who hardly pays income taxes, since his wealth derives largely from capital gains — “limits placed on deductions, exemptions, and credits that are currently available” on “higher-income Americans.” Explain to me again how Romney is a conservative?

Further, Mitt’s running on a “jobs” platform, which for lots of reasons I find unconvincing. To sunnily present yourself as the man who will put America back to work is to pretend that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the country, when in fact the nation is in mortal peril, both externally and internally. What’s Mitt going to do? Sell off the best bits of America Inc., fire the remaining workers, and proclaim victory? Yeah, that’ll work . . .

What’s needed is someone who a) understands the problem, b) can articulate it, and c) is completely unafraid of the Punahou Kid. Who can knowledgeably argue his positions with unthreatening intensity. And who frankly doesn’t give a damn what the petticoats in the media think. 

There is no presidential election that is not said to be the most important in our lifetime. It was even said in 1996, when Bill Clinton won a decisive but not particularly consequential victory over Bob Dole. But Clinton had been chastened by the Republican sweep in 1994, and in a period of peace and prosperity, the country could afford to debate the meaning of “is.” Now, we are truly at an inflection point, between the Barack Obama and Paul Ryan approaches to government, between consolidation of the past three years of historic government expansion and rollback.

Precisely: “between the Barack Obama and Paul Ryan approaches to government.” One party already has its proper leader. When is the GOP going to wise up? With the country’s body and soul at stake, it’s going to take an honest midwesterner who also has youth, energy, and the truth on his side to beat a Chicago Combine front man who’s frantically trying to buy constituencies before the illusion wears off. 

Sure, Ryan’s said he doesn’t want to run this year. And yes, I know: Republican “strategists” from the Circumlocution Office will bleat that the rules are in place and can’t be changed. That somehow a system in which the party’s nominee will be chosen by men who nominated themselves, including a pair of failed veteran candidates, a former speaker who voluntarily resigned, and a man from outer space, is perfectly adequate to the demands of the moment. Which is why, of course, they’re called the Stupid Party:

This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the

one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a

country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been

foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining

influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever

was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand

with all the public departments in the art of perceiving–HOW NOT


Through this delicate perception, through the tact with which it

invariably seized it, and through the genius with which it always

acted on it, the Circumlocution Office had risen to overtop all the

public departments; and the public condition had risen to be–what

it was.  

And is. And — unless Republicans seize the moment, chuck the rules, and find a new candidate at the convention, one for whom the Democrats and their media allies will be entirely unprepared (long past time to use the Torricelli Maneuver on them) — ever shall be.

If the GOP really does think this is the most important election of our lifetime, it ought to start acting like it.

Most Popular

White House

The Trivialization of Impeachment

We have a serious governance problem. Our system is based on separation of powers, because liberty depends on preventing any component of the state from accumulating too much authority -- that’s how tyrants are born. For the system to work, the components have to be able to check each other: The federal and ... Read More

‘Texodus’ Bodes Badly for Republicans

‘I am a classically trained engineer," says Representative Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, "and I firmly believe in regression to the mean." Applying a concept from statistics to the randomness of today's politics is problematic. In any case, Hurd, 42, is not waiting for the regression of our politics from the ... Read More

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More

Put Up or Shut Up on These Accusations, Hillary

Look, one 2016 candidate being prone to wild and baseless accusations is enough. Appearing on Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, Hillary Clinton suggested that 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was a “Russian asset,” that Republicans and Russians were promoting the Green Party, and ... Read More

Not Less Religion, Just Different Religion

The Pew Poll tells us that society is secularizing -- particularly among the young -- and who can deny it? That is one reason that the free expression of religion is under such intense pressure in the West. But it seems to me that we aren't really becoming less religious. Rather, many are merely changing that ... Read More