GOP Nomination and Political News, 4 April 2012

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys” – P. J. O’Rourke

The GOP held three nomination contests yesterday in DC, Wisconsin, and Maryland (my home state). Mitt Romney won all three as is starting to take on an air of … well, perhaps reluctant “inevitability.” Not that Romney has closed the deal by any stretch, but the path by which Santorum or some other candidate either wins the nomination outright, or forces a brokered convention in which Romney does not emerge as the candidate is getting more difficult.

I noted to a friend yesterday that I find it incredible that in an election where the public is highly opposed to the president’s signature legislation (Obamacare), the opposition party would nominate a candidate who cannot make a credible issue out of the subject. Romney’s best hope now is that the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare (which I hope they do) taking the issue off the table.

I suppose it is of little concern. In the end Obama will win or lose the presidency based on the economy. I put that issue still at about 50-50. Gas prices, Europe, China, and even Middle East crises could all spell serious wobbles for the economy. But, they may not really have an election-level impact until after the election.

There has been much more talk recently too of the Romney “veepstakes.” The odds-on favorite has long been Marco Rubio. About two months ago there were rumors out there that Ron Paul would be the pick in a deal to back off of his Romney attacks (and ramp up the Santorum attacks). I suspect it’s all nonsense, but a Ron Paul VP would be really interesting to me. Yesterday Sarah Palin, the last Republican VP nominee, dropped the name of Congressman Allen West – a Tea Party conservative … and black. I think that would be intriguing too. On the one hand, the GOP would look like a bunch of “Johnny-come-lately” hacks by adding some color down the ticket to match up in a race against the first black president. On the other hand, that narrative would be absolutely irresistible to the liberal intelligentsia, and off-putting to most of America, which could make it a winning issue for the GOP. Time will tell, but I do hope that one of those men, or some other conservative (or, what Hakey would call a classical liberal) gets the nod.

All-told, the outcomes are less than inspiring for a freedom advocate. I don’t like Obama’s policies … and I don’t like Romney’s policies. (I don’t necessarily like Santorum’s policies either – but on the two most important issues of the day, abortion and central banking, he at least sounds reasonable at times.) I’ve often asked my liberal friends, who hated George W. Bush with a white-hot passion, “in what substantive ways is Obama different from Bush on policy?” The answer is usually a blank stare with crickets chirping in the background. I say the same to my conservative friends – “in what substantive ways do you think Romney is different from Obama?” I suspect the answer is much the same.

As long as the campaign is going though, and likely beyond, the Ron Paul message of freedom can keep getting pushed, and that is a hopeful thing for this country.

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