Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wanted: A President Who Gives a Crap

Here's Matt Yglesias on McCain's painfully inept speech from last night:

On one level, this is just aesthetics, just the question of the delivery of the speech. But it does seem to me that McCain had trouble with the text largely because important swathes of it just aren't about stuff he cares about. He likes to talk about war, and steely resolve to continue prosecuting wars, but he's not into getting into the weeds of this person's tax policy versus that person's tax policy. Not that he can't talk domestic issues, but he likes to frame them as battles between the white hats of the public interest and the black hats of corruption. That's a limited frame for anyone to use, but it's an especially odd one for a conservative, which is presumably why all of McCain's memorable domestic crusades have involved him attacking Republicans rather than Democrats. [emphases mine]
It can't be emphasized enough, in my opinion, the fundamental difference between McSame and Obama to which this speaks -- putting aside non-trivial specifics related to war, diplomacy, the proper scope of executive power, judicial appointments, fiscal policy, education, health care, the environment, etc. -- namely, that one of the candidate appears to care about broad areas of public policy, while the other does not.

Notwithstanding his delivery of the speech in New Orleans and his pointed, if bored-sounding, references to the Bush-Cheney junta's abysmal response to Hurricane Katrina, McSame is, in precept and example, committed to the Reaganite "conservative" notion that government is the problem. If government is the problem, there's no point in getting it right.

We have had eight years of governance by anti-government zealots. We can do better.


mikesdak said...

This has a Nixonian ring to it. Nixon was always more interested in foreign policy,which admittedly is where a President has more control and can make a name for himself for good (Nixon)or bad (Bush II). The disdain for other Republicans is Nixonian as well. Nixon (at least the 1968 version) was all about Nixon, not the party.

Actually, the more I ponder the idea, the more parallels between the two men seem to pop up. This might make a good filler for my humble blog.

Aimee Brons said...

"If government is the problem, there's no point in getting it right" - good point! In Canada we’re currently suffering through a conservative government led by Stephen Harper who has brought it upon himself to be Bush’s lap dog. He apparently doesn’t have the good sense to distance himself from the wreckage of the last 8 years. Instead, he takes Bush’s “good ideas” and tries to implement them here, in the Great White North, while constantly asserting our lives would be so much better if the government would just step aside and leave us as fodder for corporate rule. It’s a piss off. It leaves me thinking, “why the hell are we paying you a six-figure salary to advocate for your big-business buddies?” It is irritating but somehow still laughable, especially in Canada; we’re a socialist country! Hopefully Obama will be able to inspire our Prime Minister as much as Bush has.

Dale said...

Mike, I think Nixon was quite a bit smarter. Probably more evil, but smarter.

Aimee, I am sorry to hear the rot is spreading north. I hope it stops soon.