Sunday, November 13, 2011

THE GOP PREROGATIVE: THE IDEALIST OR THE REALIST

Newt Gingrich the "Idealist"
Mitt Romney the "Realist"













The fat lady hasn’t sung, but the prospect of a GOP President occupying the White House on January 20, 2013 looks quite promising. This prediction still falls within the taxonomy of “cautiously optimistic”, since President Obama’s indiscernible statesmanship and leadership is equipoised by his considerable campaign skills.

It would be imprudent to underestimate the President’s prospects for reelection. He’s a natural born sophist, a first rate rhetorician and in his repertoire is the demagoguery of villainy. The campaigner-in-chief will surely dust off his Alinsky rulebook and spin his abysmal record as a casualty of disreputable scoundrels, i.e., the rich, and in the President’s mind their republican ‘cronies”.

Attacking republicans by vilifying the rich is the President’s new “blame Bush”. It’s all the rage with the Rousseau crowd, just look under any Occupy Wall Street pitched tent (but please wear gloves). This is no surprise, since class warfare rhetoric has always been one of the President’s favorite preoccupations-- remember his “share the wealth" rants?

The President engages in the left’s traditional vilification of millionaires/billionaires by insisting they pay more than their ‘fair’ share to support granny’s Medicare and Miss Crabtree’s teaching job, and he castigates the ogre oil company that needs to relinquish it’s tax breaks. But this is merely the President’s self-styled class warfare spin since, as Charles Krauthammer notes, his tax proposals for his targeted “culprits” wouldn’t put a dent in his massive spending deficits.

As the campaign games begin President Obama’s message has deteriorated from daring to dream of hopeful change toward a unified America, to pitting state against federal, Chief Executive against the Constitution and American against American. The unifying candidate unmasked himself as the partisan President and now confirms himself as the divider incumbent. The President has revealed his ineptitude through his dismal record, his class warfare rhetoric, and is eminently beatable next November. Rasmussen polling has a generic GOP candidate beating the President 46% to 42% and the conventional wisdom is, as John Avlon states, …it doesn't take a crystal ball -- or reams of data -- to say that the 2012 presidential election is going to be close. By any historical measure Barack Obama is a very vulnerable incumbent.”

The winds of fortune appear to be at the GOP’s back and by most accounts the White House is theirs to lose. The glaring vulnerabilities of the sitting President have placed the GOP in the enviable position of having prerogatives, and as we sort through the candidate’s backgrounds, morass of debates, TV ads, candidate interviews, policy papers and opinions on governance what emerges are two distinct GOP candidate camps, that being the ‘idealists’ and the ‘realists’. With eight GOP candidates in the fray the delineation between the two camps appears evenly split. Gingrich, Cain, Bachmann and Santorum represent the idealists; on the realist flank are Romney, Perry, Paul and Huntsman.

The candidates in both groups are fixers. Aside from the standard campaign bickering each GOP candidate is dedicated to undoing the Obama regimes’ draconian policies. Their policy tactics may differ, but there is broad consensus that they would initiate the needed reforms to right America’s course, set the stage for economic growth and employment and dismantle the Obama regime’s social democratic welfare state policies that have vitiated America’s exceptional status globally. But that is where the similarities end. Each GOP camp has unique inspirations that would influence their vision of America and their approaches to leadership.

The idealist candidate’s vision for America is grounded in a transcendent belief that America has a providential purpose, and a manifest destiny to represent herself as a beacon for virtue, order, freedom and justice throughout the world. Look to John Locke as the idealist’s patron saint, and Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration’s chief author, as their kindred spirit. The idealists guiding principles are the Declaration’s First Principles which declares the Divine as having endowed mankind with natural rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. John Locke’s natural rights theory on life, liberty and property are virtually inscribed verbatim in the Declaration’s First Principles. And it is no coincidence that Locke’s social contract theory, which states that government’s purpose is to protect natural rights, has parallels to chief idealist Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” while he was Speaker of the House, and his candidacy’s “21st Century Contract with America”.

The idealists are Jeffersonians, and would govern according to Jefferson’s staunch belief in local democracy, federalism, limited federal government and state’s rights. An idealist President would heed Jefferson’s following remarks, “the states are not subordinate to the national government, but rather the two are coordinate departments of one simple and integral whole."

If the idealists venerate John Locke’s natural rights divinity, the realist’s propensities towards expediency and pragmatism cause them to admire J.S. Mills’ secular utilitarianism. Mills believed that in promoting the general good actions are right if they tend to promote the greatest happiness, and wrong if they tend to produce the reverse. If the idealists admire Jefferson’s unwavering stand on federalism and localized democracy, the realist’s agree with Alexander Hamilton’s belief that the federal government should be a powerful force in society and must ally with business. Realist outlier Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) would appeal to Ayn Rand’s secular and impersonal worldview of objectivism as his spiritual guidance.

The realists will map their course toward America’s exceptionalism by taking the path of least resistance. Ron Paul aside, the other three GOP realists have all governed from the perspective of pragmatics and practicality. Mitt Romney, the front-runner in the realist camp, is notorious for “adapting” to the exigencies of a policy position, his shining example being RomneyCare while Governor of Massachusetts. Texas Governor Rick Perry was once a democrat (but even Ronald Reagan saw the light) and has supported questionable immigration and vaccination policies to assuage political opposition. Jon Huntsman, former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China under President Obama, touts himself as the “center right candidate”, a “pragmatic problem solver” and even identifies Americans as “a pragmatic, problem-solving people”.

Ron Paul, the ubiquitous Libertarian and a disciple of Ayn Rand’s secular philosophy of objectivism, is the ultimate realist. Ayn Rand’s belief system is patently opposed to any transcendent view of natural rights and states that, “reality exists as an objective absolute and facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears." Although Rep. Paul espouses the Constitution as his sole basis for governmental structure, his Randian beliefs are so anti-Lockean that, in his view, nearly all forms of government in the name of order or protection are unethical and unnecessary.

The idealists will shine the spotlight of the Declaration’s First Principles to guide America’s mission. The realists will test the waters of compromise to arrive at sensible solutions. The idealist acknowledges divine providence as a leadership catalyst; the realist views secular compromise as their method of management.

The Obama administration has taken America down a treacherous road to Avernus. Both GOP alliances will reroute America upward toward the prosperous path to exceptionalism. A weak, vulnerable and failed Obama presidency affords Americans the luxury of prerogatives to determine how we arrive at our destination, via the idealist or the realist. A dilemma for sure, but it’s a good problem to have.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome. Spot on.