Saturday, January 12, 2008

President Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel?

William Kristol is now a contributor to The New York Times. Good, they haven't had a sufficient hardcore liar since William Safire retired. Kristol says ("President Mike Huckabee?" Jan. 7, 2008):
Who, inquiring minds want to know, is going to spare us a first Obama term? After all, for all his ability and charm, Barack Obama is still a liberal Democrat. Some of us would much prefer a non-liberal and non-Democratic administration. We don’t want to increase the scope of the nanny state, we don’t want to undo the good done by the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, and we really don’t want to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory in Iraq.
Well, uh, there seems to be a bit of a disconnect here. Nanny state? Isn't that the kind of state that keeps an eye on you to make sure you don't do anything wrong? But I digress.
After the last two elections, featuring the well-born George Bush and Al Gore and John Kerry, Americans — even Republicans! — are ready for a likable regular guy. Huckabee seems to be that.
Blah! Likable? Isn't that what we were promised with the current numbskull? Why, yes, yes it was. George W. Bush, born with all the advantages in the world and able to be defeated to victory twice, was supposed to be a likable, regular dude who'd be fun to have a drink with. Al Gore and John Kerry were stuffy intelligent types who were out of touch with the rest of the country (whatever that means).

I say that's all BS. Having a nice guy president doesn't get you a job. Liking hunting isn't a qualification for fixing the healthcare system. Wearing cowboy boots instead of suits and ties isn't going to help the stock market.

Maybe if we had one of those silly, out of touch, intellectual types, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now, or at least not as badly. We wouldn't be spending the economy of a small, wealthy western European country on Iraq every year. We might have a rational healthcare system (single payer or not, anything that provides universal coverage is an improvement over the current mess which has us spending more and getting less than just about anyone).

In the interest of reducing the nanny state and increasing competence, here are some qualities that would be nice in the next president:
  • doesn't hunt
  • when cutting taxes, reduce the federal transfers to states that already get more back from the federal government than they send (that mostly means red states)
  • doesn't wear a cowboy hat
  • end highway funding; let the states handle it
  • supports rational healthcare; single payer, universal, socialized, public-private partnership, whatever—anything is better than what we have now

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