Monday, February 25, 2008

The Approved Platitudes

Andrew Sullivan's recent vacation introduced me to the fistful of smart conservative bloggers (e.g. Reihan Salam) who pitch-hit for him, along with some of the other bloggers they plugged. For example, here's Eunomia's Daniel Larison, talking about the election in "The Meme Lives On" :

Every mistake of analysis I have made over the past year has come from believing that policy mattered to voters and that the candidates with the policies most in line with their constituents’ priorities would prevail.  That was a pretty stupid assumption. Worse than a pundit’s fallacy, this is the error of the high-information voter, who thinks that because he wastes his time learning about the policy positions of two dozen politicians that everyone else is as, well, brain-damaged and conditioned as he is...

The candidates of bold ideas and major changes were, of course, the ones who were consistently marginalised and ridiculed as “kooks,” and in a narrow sense this label is correct in that you do have to be a bit eccentric to care deeply about foreign policy paradigms, much less monetary policy. The one candidate who routinely spoke about the declining value of the dollar, one of the more important questions of the moment, was Ron Paul. The best McCain has ever been able to do when confronted with a question about monetary policy is to recycle his lame joke about propping up Alan Greenspan’s corpse in a chair, and he stands a frighteningly good chance of becoming the next President. Paul’s rivals typically battled with each other over things that were relatively trivial by comparison–”sanctuary mansions” comes to mind–and they have been rewarded for their triviality. They are the serious ones, because while they may mouth platitudes, these are the approved platitudes. Paul’s candidacy was focused heavily on his dissenting policy views, and it was, whether or not you endorse his proposals, the most substantive campaign of them all.

This strikes me as both 1) true and 2) likely to make Angela happy, who recently and insightfully wrote this:
i am beginning to think ralph nader has an uncontrollable ego. and need for constant attention. and is jealous of what ron paul was able to do without a substantial personal fortune and rich pals backing him.

1 comment:

mother of light said...

you're right, i am happy!