Skip to comments.Thomas Sowell: Is Anybody Serious? (Excellent)
Posted on 01/25/2012 11:24:30 AM PST by jazusamo
The Republican candidates' circular firing squad now seems to be using machine guns. Whoever the eventual "last man standing" turns out to be, he may not be standing very tall or very steadily on his feet and he may be a pushover for Barack Obama in the general election, thanks to fellow Republicans.
Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or an independent, this is a very serious and historically crucial time for the United States of America. What Mitt Romney did or did not do when he was with Bain Capital, or what Newt Gingrich did or did not say to his ex-wife, are things that should be left for the tabloids.
With the economy still faltering and Iran on its way to getting nuclear bombs, surely we can get serious about the issues facing this nation. Or can we?
Mitt Romney's boasts about what he did at Bain Capital are as irrelevant as Newt Gingrich's demagogic attacks on Romney's role there. Romney is not running to become head of Bain Capital.
While Gingrich backed away from his demagoguery about Bain Capital, Romney is continuing to press ahead with his charges that Gingrich was a lobbyist for Freddie Mac. As someone who has been a consultant, but never a lobbyist, I know the difference.
As a consultant, I have offered advice to people in government and in private organizations, both businesses and non-profit organizations. But I have never gone to a government official to urge that official to make a decision favorable to those who were paying me, or to those for whom I did free consulting.
It takes two to tango, and lobbying requires not only a lobbyist but also someone who is being lobbied. With more than 500 people in Congress alone who could have been lobbied, and additional officials in the bureaucracies, if Romney cannot find even a single person to say that Gingrich lobbied him or her, then it is long past time for him to either put up or shut up.
On the other hand, if Romney just wants to sling a lot of mud in Newt's direction and hope that some of it sticks, then that should tell the voters a lot about Romney's character.
So much of what has been said by various Republican candidates, as well as by the media, has been in the nature of unsubstantiated, peripheral or irrelevant talking points for or against particular candidates, rather than serious statements about serious issues confronting the nation.
So common has this approach become that even some conservative writers have come to the defense of John King, the CNN reporter who opened the South Carolina debate with a question about Newt Gingrich's former wife. These writers have declared that question "legitimate," in some undefined sense.
If all that "legitimate" means is that John King was not doing anything that many other reporters would have done in the same circumstances, that is making common practice a substitute for our own judgments about what is and is not relevant in a given context. Neither the audience in that room nor the millions watching on television were there to find out about Newt Gingrich's marital problems. If it is a common practice for the media to focus on such things, so much the worse for the media and for the country.
"The politics of personal destruction" as Bill Clinton called it, and as he himself practiced it is not the way to solve the nation's problems. It has already poisoned the well of political discourse this season and claimed Herman Cain as its first victim, on the basis of unsubstantiated accusations by women with checkered pasts of their own.
Whether Herman Cain was good, bad or indifferent as a candidate, and whether his chances of winning the Republican nomination were substantial or non-existent is not the issue. Nor is this the issue as regards Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney or any other candidate.
Poisoning the well of political discourse may be one of the reasons why we see such unsatisfactory sets of candidates for political office in both parties, not only this year but in previous election years as well.
Many able and decent people are understandably reluctant to subject themselves and their families to a mud-slinging contest or to media "gotcha" questions. The creeping acceptance of such practices is hardly a justification, but is itself part of the degeneration of our times.
The time is long overdue to get serious.
—With the economy still faltering and Iran on its way to getting nuclear bombs, surely we can get serious about the issues facing this nation. Or can we? —
Before I answer that, I need to see who is going to be on Dancing with the Stars.
Unfortunately you’re all too correct for way too many people.
Thanks for the ping jaz. Dr. Sowell right on the mark as usual.
If the party bosses allowed a true conservative with guts on the ballot without interference there would not be a problem with the election or this country for that matter.
The problem, Mr. Sowell, rests on Karl and his ilk, not the conservatives. It’s been that way for a long time.
Now I'm gonna read it!
By the way, thank you so much for having me on your Thomas Sowell ping list. :^)
—Unfortunately youre all too correct for way too many people.-
Having dumped TV myself in the 90’s, I’m all too aware of it. :-(
I also believe the electorate has already proven that it will not wake from it’s stupor until it is too late. I have no doubt whatsoever, for one simple reason: It became “too late” before Obama was even elected, though he has exacerbated the situation greatly.
You’re correct, I seldom do it but sometimes I just get charged up. :-)
Sowell BTT. Anyone who can cite chapter and verse concerning Gingrich’s marriages but can’t state a single one of his policies is not serious.
Sowell is exactly right. Truth is, we’re just not very good at selecting and electing Presidents. Our process is all wrong. There certainly is a particular skill set that Presidents need to have— and our electoral process doesn’t test for any of that. Instead, our tests are all about things that don’t really matter for the actual job of being President.
We’re far better at seeking out and selecting a new American Idol that we are at finding new Presidents. The “debates” (which aren’t really even debates) are useless. Presidents don’t need debate skills. What they need is the ability to listen to diverse opinions and differing advice— and recognize good advice when they hear it. Presidents don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of facts about the world or even it’s leaders. What they need is a gift for quickly assimilating new information in order to make sound decisions, perhaps on topics that they first learned about that morning.
The real day-to-day skills that make a President aren’t things that we come even close to in our selection process. I’m not sure what to do about it, but there’s got to be a better answer.
Too true. Until socialism bites the American people hard and painfully on their collective butts, too many will never wake up. As long as their bellies are full, they have mind-numbing entertainment, can have as much reckless sex as they want, then they will continue along the path of slavery and surrender their freedom and liberty.
"On the other hand, if Romney just wants to sling a lot of mud in Newt's direction and hope that some of it sticks, then that should tell the voters a lot about Romney's character.
Great jumpin' Jehosephat, I do love Thomas Sowell.
Then he goes on to mention something that's been bugging me for days, YES! And that is that Romney keeps referring to Newt as a "lobbyist," when he was a consultant. There's a big difference. Thank you, Thomas Sowell.
Godspeed Newt Gingrich! And God bless Thomas Sowell.
I hope there is time for us to recover. If not, the entire country pays a terrible price.
Part of the problem is the visual media. Ever since the 1960 Kennedy vs. Nixon debate, the criteria changed from substance to style. How does the candidate look and speak to the camera becomes important, not what they are saying.
I ask you on the day of your daughter's wedding. Do you really believe that? Me? I ain't so sure. I live in a country where 53% of the voters had no trouble pulling the lever for a jive-ass Chicago Community Organizer, whose very name is not a settled question.
With $4 gas, and 10% unemployment (at least), that same 53% is still out there. "Conservatism" requires thoughtful analysis, enlightened self-interest, the ability to detect the difference between bullshiite and Shinola, etc.
My research over to the Wal-Mart parking lot has convinced me that these attributes are in shorter supply than we might like.
Sowell is saying what Krauthammer said last week.
All fine and good. I would add as a first requirement the ability to have all decisions strictly follow the language and intent of the United States Constitution.
Our Republic would have been much better served if our leaders did not undertake to "help the people" in the cause of solving "problems." We would have a more peaceful, ordered, and prosperous Republic.