Monday, December 3, 2007


So, Huckabee is the flavor of the month. My best lib friend Matthew has already taken me to task for predicting that he can't win the anti-Rudy primary, and now the mainstream pundits have begun to come around to the same conclusion. My father-in-law, who knows zip about politics but has outstanding instincts (and is one of the wisest men I know), confidently predicts that Huck will be the last man standing. So what's a theo-con like me to do? The knock on Huck is that although he's the most solid social conservative in the field, that he's a lightweight on foreign policy and a squish on conservative economics. The econ stuff, as I have indicated before, is the least of my worries--I'd probably be called squishy, too. I'd prefer someone in wartime who focuses more on that issue, but it's not like Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani have ever actually been commander-in-chief, either. I know that in the end, I'll wind up voting for un-Hillary, whoever that happens to be, and even if it requires a firm holding of the nose. But for now, color me intrigued about Mike Huckabee. If he comes into SC looking like he has a chance, I'll almost certainly try to send him along to Florida with the chance still intact. In the end, if it's hold my nose and vote for a Republican with whom I disagree, I'd MUCH rather the disagreement be over economic issues than life and potential judges.


bekster said...

You may have already answered this before, but, if so, I don't remember: Regardless of electability, which candidate do you think would make the better president? Basically, if there were no politics or strategizing involved, and you could just vote for who you truly believed would be the best for the country, who would you vote for? (Or, if that question still makes it hard not to strategize, which candidate falls the closest in line with your values and beliefs?) Even if none of the people currently running fit the bill, who would you throw in there?

Coach Sal said...

Good question. I think in terms of sheer executive competence and brain-power, that Romney is the most impressive. But he comes across as so slippery and slick. I like Huckabee as the most overt social-conservative candidate. And I like Fred Thompson. But you have to be at least a little strategic. If a vote for Huckabee only serves to undermine Romney, and therefore leads to a Rudy vs. Hillary ticket (which for me is the worst choice in terms of my values), then I want to play my cards in such a way as to get the eventual outcome I think is best (or even least bad). It's classic game theory.

bekster said...

Your descriptions of Romney and Huckabee lead me to another question: What makes a good president? Someone could believe exactly what I believe and have my same goals for the country, but if they do not know how to LEAD, does it matter? Would they have the strength and enough people following them to actually achieve those goals? On the other hand, someone could be very strong with great "executive competence and brain-power," but they could be striving to achieve goals that I do not agree with (not necessarily talking about Romney, just anyone who is a smart, competent leader-type). So, which qualities matter more than the others?

On another note, imagine if we threw out the party system for voting (but we could keep the electoral college), and the person with the most votes won, while the person with the next many votes became vice president. That way, the country could be represented more accurately, and candidates could focus on promoting themselves instead of undermining those in the opposite party. You wouldn't have to vote just to make sure Hilary didn't get it. She would still end up being at least VP, but she would at least have someone to balance her out. Yes, the candidates would still be known as either "liberal" or "conservative," so we would still probably have to vote for the conservative who we thought could actually get it instead of who we REALLY wanted, but it might be a step in the right direction. I'm sure there is a flaw in my plan, which I have no doubt you can tell me, but I think it might help, especially with the country being so polarized. What do you think?

Coach Sal said...

To take your questions one at a time--I ask my students an essay question comparing Carter (incompetent, but high personal integrity) with Nixon (very competent, but arguably the most dishonest president). The "voting" is always split. My answer is that leadership (whether a president, a priest, a father, or a high-school coach) requires BOTH. But I personally prefer someone who is "on the same page" with me, both in terms of character and ideology, over someone who is technically good, but leading in a direction of which I don't approve.

As for the runner-up being veep, that's been tried. The original Constitution provided for just that. but it didn't work after parties were invented, and was "fixed" by the 12th amendment. If we didn't have formal parties as such, we'd still have to invent something similar--the people with similar goals and beliefs would vote together and form coalitions, and you'd want to vote for combinations of people who worked well together. Hence, party.

One good thing--for the most part, especially on the GOP side, there is no shortage of candidates who have genuine executive leadership ability. Two governors (Romney and Huck), a mayor of NY (bigger than most states), and even McCain, although a senator, was a military officer and leader in his prison camp. Of the serious contenders, only Thompson lacks tested executive leadership. On the Dem side it's all senators, as far as the eye can see. (Although you can say that Hillary has kinda been president once before-LOL).

bekster said...

Hmmm, okay. I may still be missing something here, but what if we still had the parties (since, apparently, they would form anyway) and the primary elections, but then the result of the final election would leave us with the "other guy" as VP?

As for Hilary having already been president, yes, everyone knows that the wife is REALLY the one doing the work. ;) However, in their case, with Bill involved in so many lewd scandals, I question how their marriage really functioned at the time... not that I really want to know.

Goode Design said...

gotta chime in... so... Who should be president? Not sure that I have a name to contribute (besides Larry Salley '12).

But the characteristics of the leader of such a nation are quite clear:
Should be above reproach
Husband of 1 wife
Able to instruct or guide
Not a drunk
Not violent
Not quarrelsome
Doesn't love money

The children of Israel found their most prosperous years under a man who was described as pursuing the heart of the Father.

I think I could follow that.