AH writes in with what the Czar thinks is absolutely polished, spot-on thinking. Please read this carefully, because he hits all the notes the Czar would be aiming for in future essays:
Liked your piece last night. It fits nicely with Jonah Goldberg’s latest on the “conservative establishment” and how it has moved rightward but is not bringing the country with it.
When we look at our field of candidates, even though they’re all conservatives, you get the sense that they’re really kind of disappointed with conservative ideology and its hands-off approach. Sure, they offer tax cuts and reduced regulation, but you get the feeling that they’d rather be using the full power of government to demonstrate their ability to solve the nation’s problems. They talk about unleashing the creative force of private enterprise, but my sense is that they feel very strongly that it matters who does the unleashing. “I shall unleash the awesome power of the free market with my targeted tax cuts, with my Enterprise Zones, with my 59-point economic plan!”
There’s a reason Hayek called it the Fatal ‘Conceit’. All of the candidates in our current field (with the possible exception of Rick Santorum) give me the idea that they think very highly of themselves indeed. I can’t envision them saying, with Hayek, “none of us, me included, is smart enough to ‘run’ the American economy, and my task as president will be to stop our government from pretending that it runs the country”. They want to put the levers of power in the right hands; conservatives want the levers snapped off and thrown into the sea.
So how did we wind up with such conceited candidates? It’s interesting that Rick Santorum, the only one I can envision avoiding Hayek’s Fatal Conceit, also feels unelectable to me and has had a hard time getting oxygen in the debates. Our primary system, like our culture, is set up for the shameless self-promoter. It was not always this way. Calvin Coolidge is the obvious example, but many of the 19th century presidents were modest men. (Plenty had much to be modest about.) And that’s why I liked your piece so much. You identify the Ignorant Independents as the ones our candidates compete over so fiercely. Most days, aren’t they the celebrity-watching, cult-of-personality followers?
Running for president right now is a grueling horror show of living perpetually in public, under enormous scrutiny. Is it any wonder that the vast majority of people willing to do it are those who think so highly of themselves that they don’t mind continuously living the celebrity lifestyle?
Of course, if that is the problem, I have no idea how to fix it. Dissolve the people and elect another?
Geez, this is good analysis from top-to-bottom. The Czar dares not improve on it, but had the following two reactions worth sharing.
- Rick Santorum could possibly be running the best campaign of all: slow and steady, weeding out the competition, until the media is forced to listen to him because there is no one left but Romney. At this rate, he is starting to climb up the polls at a steady but significant number. According to one poll, hes third in Iowa and fourth (or fifth) in the country. He has a great message, and seems to have fixed his biggest problemhis appearance as a crybaby in the first few debates. The last couple of debates saw him use his air-time much more wisely, and he scored some big hits. Let us hope this is accoridng to his plan, and not to luck: a slower rise to the spotlight is bound to work better than the meteoric rises of Bachmann, Pawlenty, Perry, Cain, and Gingrichfor all the good that did them. Santorum may be the smartest one out there, if this is all by his design. Yeah, he would likely KO the President in a national debate, especially if Santorum keeps using his two strongest weapons: foreign policy and economic liberty. Obama clearly intends to list those as his two successes (based on his 60 Minutes interview, and Santorum could easily embarrass the President on both.
- Part of the problem overall is that the candidates really do understand politics. They know full well that what this country needs is a liposuction of unprecedented scale, but also know that they will be in serious, serious hell if they try it. All of them seem to understand that the President cant wake up the morning after inauguration and get to work eliminating entitlements, undoing Obamacare, and shrinking down the Executive Branch by the afternoon. None of them want to promise it because, realistically, it aint gonna go down that way. The Czar gets that, but also knows that we dont have much time to react. Even so, it might be nice for a candidate like Romney to explain how dire the situation is and start detailing a plan to undo it all.
Thanks for your additional observations about the so-called independents. Ultimately, we will be sorry we paid so much attention to those who matter so little to our country.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.