Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowa Caucus: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 

So much for the Iowa Circus (excuse me, Caucus). My quick take of the selection (not election) there yields a few points.

The Good - Sen. Obama's Win
I probably can't see myself voting for Sen. Obama in the general election unless his opponent is not one of the Republican front runners, but I can't help but enjoy his win over both Sen. Edwards and Sen. Clinton. In the first place, I find him, in his own naive way, to be more honest and genuine than either of those two snake oil salesmen. But more importantly, as Tyrone Steeles noted, it is a sharp poke in the eye to the Black Democrat Establishment and the collective wisdom that "White America" won't vote for a black candidate. I have long contended that the poor showing of previous black presidential candidates had much more to do with their being perceived as excessively parochial with regard to black constituency than with their race. For example, I would no more expect a handicapped white candidate to do well if they spent half their time talking about how they're going to help the handicapped and proposing all manner of new government programs exclusively to aid them. Hopefully Sen. Obama's win will help to impress this point, not so much on the Black Establishment, but on all the black candidates who may feel empowered to drink from outside that well. Anything that contributes to true diversity in candidates is good in my book.

The Bad - Gov. Huckabee's Win
I probably can't see myself voting for Gov. Huckabee in the general election unless his opponent is much worse in terms of national security. Stephen Green put it quite clearly, "What is wrong with you people?" A vote for Huckabee is a vote for much of the same nanny statism one could expect from the Democrats with the added bonus of helping to support the "Republicans are goobers from Jesusland" stereotype. The campaign message "vote for me because I'm a real Christian, just like you" is no less repulsive to me than "vote for me because I'm Black/Hispanic/White/Gay, just like you." Besides serving as a very prominent rally point for secular liberals, it also tends to alienate conservatives who believe in the importance of morals and values in society but are uneasy with government trying to force "Christian" morals and values on the country. Protecting life should be viewed as a good and moral thing, regardless of an individual's religion, but we don't need to bring back Blue Laws at the same time.

The Ugly - Sen. Obama's and Gov. Huckabee's Wins
Overall, I probably can't see myself voting for either Sen. Obama or Gov. Huckabee in the general election. Paul Mirengoff at Powerline summed it up by saying, "The common demoninator [sic] here, other than a patent lack of qualifications for the presidency, is likeability [sic]." It is almost depressing to imagine so many Americans so willing either to buy platitudes that carry only slightly more semblance to reality than the average child's letter to Santa or to ignore Grand Canyon sized gaping policy faults in order to support a good fellow Christian. I take my solace in knowing that this was, after all, a selection and not an election and in recognizing, as Mayor Guilliani's team has, that the real payday in terms of delegates is still a few weeks away.

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