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Unlike Mike Dooley, I am not a poker player. I am, however, a duplicate bridge player, and I know all about playing the cards you are dealt. When I have bad cards, I score by playing well-considered defense and limit as much as possible declarer’s ability to make his contract. John McCain is the ultimate “bad card,” and I say again that we will all be very unhappy with the long run effects of a McCain Presidency should he actually manage to win the race (for all the reasons I have given in my last several letters on this subject).
It is true that nothing is inevitable. Indeed the future is not knowable, and speculation about alternative outcomes is certainly not certain. However, human action is predicated on expectations that are formed in part by a review of past historical situations. Prudent businessmen don’t invest based on some secret ability to know the future, but rather on their expectations from their insights and judgments that the investment will return in excess of a hurdle rate of return. Likewise, voters should assess what the long term results will be of their decisions, and not simply accept a probable catastrophe to avoid an emotional fear. There are ways of defending against the feared outcome without signing onto a non-solution that could make things worse.
There is much similarity between Nixon-McGovern and McCain-Obama: (1) a flawed RINO against a leftist alternative; (2) a shaky economy that neither candidate knew how to fix; (3) an unpopular war dividing the country. In this case we know the outcome of re-electing the RINO in 1972: Watergate, economic nonsense, and the eventual “bug out” from Vietnam due to the strengthening of the Democrat legislative majority from disgust with the RINO’s administration. The Killing Fields and the Boat People were byproducts of Republican failure to hold a reasonable share of the legislative seats, which in turn occurred due to public disgust with Richard Nixon. Could not these historical stains have occurred under McGovern? Sure, but at least there would have been fewer American casualties in a war we were not willing to win.
I agree with Mike Dooley’s point that the election of Reagan in 1980 was a near thing. I don’t agree that this undermines my point that the defeat of Ford was helpful in the long-run. Without Ford losing to Carter in 1976, a subsequent election of Reagan in 1980 would not have been a near thing; it would have been a very unlikely thing. You can call this assuming facts not in evidence. I call it informed judgment.p>As for today, we can already see the panic in Washington over the financial melt-down. Government intervention in the form of ridiculously low interest rate policy (and failure to rein in its mortgage market creatures, Fan and Fred) resulted in a thoroughly predictable (see, we make can make judgments even without “knowing” the future) housing bubble, the substructure of the current financial mess. Now we are busily bailing out selected firms, suspending short sales used for hedging positions (otherwise known as “insurance”), and probably buying up at taxpayer expense non-performing assets at some non-market established “price.” It is particularly interesting that “mark to market” extremism emerging from our last crisis has been the gasoline in the economic bomb that intervention has created. I don’t know how to rescue the government from its malpractice, and I guarantee you that McCain (or Obama) doesn’t know either. I do know that interventions to remedy interventions has not been a particularly successful strategy in the past. Ultimately, markets must be allowed to correct, and businesses allowed to fail. The real question that government never considers is whether the unintended consequences damage of delaying the reckoning is worth it. There will be voices of populism that will want to soak the rich in these times and bar imported goods (and possibly even bar capital transfers abroad): i.e. the Hoover approach. Are you sure that McCain will not fall for all of this? I’m not; I expect him to do so. It is not far-fetched to believe him to be a risk for the modern Herbert Hoover award. Might this not happen? Sure. But in comparing what we are likely to get from a McCain administration against this risk, I still plan to blank the Presidential line, and I encourage all other conservatives and libertarians to do the same. Play defense! Spend your time and money resources down-ballot!
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online