The state of things: GOP presidential nominee edition
In light of our very heated (but very useful, I feel) recent discussion on the role of the voter — does he owe allegiance to himself of to a Party? should his vote be affirmative or act as a corrective by canceling out the impact of a negative? — I’d like to put into perspective what it is we’re debating over. And the best way to do that is to simplify things. To wit:
1. GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, by way of Bain Capital, in the past engaged in capitalism.
2. GOP presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have criticized this capitalism; creative destruction can hurt the folks, you see, and therefore needs to be more tightly regulated by the state. That is, the markets acting freely don’t always make everyone a winner, and so the government has to step in and fix that. What we need is less capitalism and more centralized planning. That is, more corporatism.
3. GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, in defending his past engagement in capitalism, explains defensively that his capitalism isn’t the icky kind of free-market capitalism that creates winners and losers (and that because it sometimes rewards risk must necessarily allow for failure), but rather that it is the kind capitalism that, by way of Bain Capital, is akin to Obama’s bailouts of the auto industry: administrative and executive usages of capital to save or create jobs, not simply to make money — and so the good kind of capitalism, the kind built on altruism and the health and vitality of a managed common weal, not self-interest or greed. Presumably like TARP. Or state-run health care!
4. GOP presidential Mitt Romney, the man who gave us socialized state health care, is therefore given an opening to position himself to the right of Gingrich and Perry, and his response is to deny he’s there, and to immediately retreat left.
5. GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum defends capitalism, defends Mitt Romney’s earlier engagement of capitalism on capitalist grounds (as opposed to Romney himself, who appealed for a defense to progressive corporatism), and yet the GOP establishment and its attendant media — as well as an increasing number of sober, pragmatic, “it’s time to rally behind a single candidate” members of the conservative base — tell us that it is Santorum who is unelectable, and throw their support behind the candidate who enacted state-run health care, and who can’t even defend his own engagement in capitalism without retreating to a progressive defense.
6. People in the comments here tell me that my insistence on not lending my positive allegiance to a progressive corporatist, should he win the GOP coronation, is tantamount to voting for the destruction of the country. Because, while Romney may be a progressive corporatist, at least he’s our progressive corporatist. And frankly, he’s the only electable Republican, Santorum being part of the extremist fringe who won’t appeal to moderates and independents. Who evidently are big on corporatism, and who mistrust capitalism.
7. Really. What the fuck?