Monday, December 17, 2007

It's the resumes, stupid!

The paraphrase of James Carville in the title is probably my best explanation as to why I am becoming very disillusioned about conservatism in general.

For the Presidential nomination, assume five candidates:

Candidate A was a preacher for 12 years before starting in politics, spending three years as lieutenant governor before becoming governor in a small Southern state for ten years, where he did a so-so job and had a string of ethics complaints, and a tax burden 47% higher than ti was when he took office.

Candidate B is a naval veteran decorated for his actions while a prisoner of war who later ran for Congress before being elected to the Senate for several terms. He has not always gotten along with his party.

Candidate C had a lengthy record in business, and is responsible for the successful launch of at least one business that is a major nation-wide chain. He served one term as governor, during which he handled several hot-button issues in a statesmanlike manner, and also was able to turn a deficit into surplus without any tax increases.

Candidate D is a former prosecutor who was mayor of the nation's largest city for eight years. During that time, he presided over an incredible drop in crime, particularly the murder rate, and he also managed to cut taxes a number of times. His performance in a major crisis won rave reviews from just about everyone. His personal life is a bit touchy, and one appointee who performed very well, broke a number of ethics rules.

Candidate E is a lawyer-turned-actor who served 8 years in the Senate before returning to acting.

Which resumes would you whittle down to be your finalists? For me, the answer is very clear - C and D would be very close to the top spot, with B as the respectfully close third. A and E would not merit consideration for the job.

And yet, conservatives seem inclined to reject C and D for reasons utterly unrelated to job performance. Candidate C, it turns out, belongs to a religion that isn't considered mainstream by some. Candidate D's personal life and lack of ideological purity seem to be a problem as well. Candidate B's problems are of his own making - in disagreements with the base, he has gone out of his way to tick them off.

And so, the two weakest resumes are now in contention for the GOP nomination, push forward by conservatives who dominate the primaries. And one of the candidates with an extremely strong resume is apparently losing support because some people have made an issue of his religion (including a state co-chairman for one of the candidates, and ads run by another).

Is this supposed to fill me with confidence in conservatism?


SJ Reidhead said...

I think we are seeing the beginning of the end of the conservative choke-hold of the GOP. I was just reading the Opinion Journal's Political Diary for the day. There is talk McCain would take Lieberman for VP. I think that would just about do it.

I would celebrate.

The Pink Flamingo

Zarathustra said...

McCain's selection of Lieberman as VP wouldn't end this so-called "conservative chokehold" of the GOP, it would simply end the GOP in toto.

And, as far as Thompson being a front-runner for the nomination, the last time I checked the Real Clear Politics poll aggregates he was tied for fifth place nationwide with Ron Paul with about eight or nine percent support.