About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Night's Debate: A Sign Of The Times

Eight candidates, that I can understand. But why four moderators/questioners?

This was a media event, plain and simple. The questions were inane (I still can't believe Michelle Bachmann was asked if, as President, she would be submissive to her husband!). The answers were scripted as the candidates ripped off catchy sound bites in hopes of earning a headline on the Drudge Report. Romney said he won't eat Obama's dogfood. I wonder how much time he and his consultants spent coming up with that one?

Here's my impression of the candidates:

In general, they were weak. I thought to myself several times as the debate progressed: Is this the best we got?

Honestly, you have to hand it to Barack Obama. He is more comfortable in his skin and in his philosophy than any of the eight on stage last night. Obama has been steeped in Marxist thought since birth. He's personable and likeable. Except for a streak of obnoxious arrogance, Obama comes across as an ordinary guy who really believes what comes out of his mouth. When he responds off the cuff to individuals like Joe the Plumber the Marxist/leftist tripe he spouts seems natural and from the heart. This is the sincerity and genuineness that Americans are drawn to. Frankly, the Republicans on stage last night don't measure up.

Romney, the supposed frontrunner, is a man who would say anything to get elected. He did so in Massachusetts several years ago and now, when confronted, he must eat his words. He does so smoothly and without hesitation. Romney reminds me of his father, an establishment politician who talks a good game but in the end is a rudderless pragmatist, a stereotypical big government, elitist, compassionate conservative. You want another George Bush, vote for Romney.

Bachmann is a puzzle. I like her as a person, but I don't know if I'd like her as President. She reads von Mises at the beach, so her philosophy and economics are sound. However, she is a bit iconoclastic. Does she pick her fights because she believes in them or because she's trying to please her minions? She's a populist who, I think, listens too much to her "expert" advisors. That's a dangerous combination in any executive, much less a President. In the end, she's weak.

Pawlenty is Romney lite. And that's really, really lite.

Santorum is Bachmann heavy, in that he is a bigger enigma than she is. He speaks with sincerity, but is a sincere televangelist really what the country needs in a President? When the chips are down, I want a President who looks to the Constitution for guidance, not the bible. Beware of candidates prepared to do what is "right" come hell or highwater.

Ron Paul is Santorum heavy. He merely subscribes to the religion of libertarianism rather than Christianity. Don't misunderstand. Christians and libertarians are, in general, good people but they can be insufferable. If I were marooned on a desert island with a single companion, I wouldn't mind that companion being Santorum or Paul. On the other hand, it would have to be a huge island! I don't want a President who is so driven by ideology he can't see the forest for the trees. Both libertarianism and Christianity are flawed ideologies. On a desert island those flaws are inconsequential. However, those flaws in the mind of the most powerful politician on earth could be fatal.

Herman Cain is a nice guy and a great businessman. He'd make a poor President. He'd be the conservatives' Jimmy Carter. In business, the job of the chief executive is to identify problems and solve them. Not so in government. I don't want a problem-solver in the White House. I want a dismantler, someone who is inclined to say: This is not a problem government should solve. It is a problem best solved by the people. Therefore, I recommend we do away with such and such agency or program. Ron Paul is the dismantler type I want, but Paul doesn't know when to stop dismantling.

Gingrich and Huntsman were the most sincere and genuine candidates on the stage last night. Gingrich's problem is that he is a policy wonk, albeit a sincere and genuine one. I tend to trust his instincts, but too often his instincts are subsumed by wonky policy and slick program recommendations that are so convoluted they'd make Rube Goldberg proud. If Dr. Frankenstein could transfer Gary Johnson's sincere, genuine, level-headed management style and philosophy into Gingrich's personality, we'd have a winner.

Huntsman showed me something last night. I distrust his philosophy and his tendency to play ball too enthusiastically with the other side, but he talked a good game last night and showed the sincereity and genuineness we need in a candidate. Perhaps Huntsman is so much the gentleman that I've been mislead about his convictions. I'll keep my eye on him.

In the meantime, I think the Republicans must keep searching for the standard-bearer they need to defeat the Obama machine. This standard-bearer must be fearless, quick-witted, humble, humorous and a great communicator. He or she must be an experienced executive with sound judgement, an attachment to old school, traditional American culture and an instinctual love of property, freedom and peace.

Know anyone like that?



John Galt said...

You can wrap it up with Rick Perry.
I shall be waiting.

Sherman Broder said...

I want to hear Rick Perry think on his feet in a debate.

In the meantime, take a look at this (be sure to follow the links) and let me know what you think:


I have the feeling Perry is another "compassionate" conservative. Like Bush, he talks a good conservative game, but his actions might not square with his words.