Saturday, October 27, 2007

The gamesman

I'm starting to give in to an old habit of mine: political commentary. I don't think this is a bad thing. I'm actually somewhat frustrated with myself for what I think is laziness on my part -- i.e. I get frustrated with the way the crowds are going but I'm to lazy to formulate a cogent reason. So here's one such attempt.

Politics is necessarily a game you have to play right in order to win. Just like a game of risk where you have to allocate your resources properly and then let the chips fall where they may. But that's not all there is to it, and any candidate who acts like that is all ignores some essentials at his own peril.

Romney is becoming the poster boy for this problem: a candidate who seems to know how to play a game, but beyond that, you can't really know. After winning the governorship of a liberal state by catering to liberals, he switches his attention to a national office, and then decides that his previous platform will not get him anywhere -- he would be right. There's only one problem: it's too obvious. The practical result is that no matter what he says, I feel like saying right back to him: You are lying. You don't really mean it. You don't care, just as long as I vote for you.

Perhaps he really thinks he can serve well without believing anything.

But suppose, we give him the benefit of the doubt and we can believe that he has truly undergone a change of values. Didn't Reagan change to some degree during his time in Hollywood? Perhaps, but Reagan did plenty to prove he was the real thing. He quickly made a name for himself as a conservative, starting with his Goldwater speech and it only went up from there, constantly backed by concrete action.

I'm sorry but you need more of a conservative resume than, um nothing, to convince me you deserve to be president. That's just what I think anyway.

At least Guiliani has a resume that is for the most part conservative. At least he understands what federalism is. Isn't that really what Roe v Wade was about?

Federalism: the right of a state to make sovereign decisions about issues that are not spoken to in the constitution. Roe v. Wade basically stated in a roundabout way that the constitution guaranteed a right to abortion -- stunning but true -- and therefore, no state could prohibit it.

So go ahead and complain that Guiliani hasn't been a conservative activist. Go ahead and complain that he doesn't meddle with the constitution. Go ahead and complain that he had the only concrete record of effective leadership. Go ahead and complain that cleaned up New York City.

The only REAL problem with the good mayor is the major weaknesses of character that are displayed in his personal life. It's a demonstrated fact that your private life has an effect on your public life (see Marvin Olasky: The American Leadership Tradition). However, there aren't that many other candidates that can throw a stone at him. And don't say Romney because I already argued that he hasn't shown himself to be trustworthy in the first place.

Alas, at the very least, this election is more demonstrative of the fact that you can't expect perfection.

Integrity however, at least for the sake of this discussion, is something we should and can expect from a candidate. Integrity is known in the military tradition as the cornerstone of leadership. How much more should the man who is planning on being the commander-in-chief of that same institution display at least an inkling of the same virtue?
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