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


‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More

What Do Republican Voters Want?

The latest entry in the post-Trump conservatism sweepstakes was Marco Rubio’s speech at the Catholic University of America in early November. The Florida senator made the case for a “common-good capitalism” that looks on markets in the light of Catholic social thought. “We must remember that our nation ... Read More

A Defining Statement of Modern Conservatism

The greatest documents in American history never lose their ability to astonish. They deserve, and repay, careful study, and inevitably have contemporary resonances no matter how long ago they were written or uttered. There’s no doubt that Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” belongs in the top ranks ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Woes and DACA Throes

This excerpt is from episode 176 of The Editors. Charlie: Yesterday was the day on which the rain stopped and the sun hid behind the clouds and the eyes of the nation turned in unison toward Capitol Hill for the first day of public hearings in the impeachment of Donald Trump. The results of that first day were ... Read More