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What Does It Mean? (Thomas Sowell) ^ | January 8, 2008 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 01/07/2008 9:05:07 PM PST by jazusamo

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It was not that long ago that the big political question was how Rudolph Giuliani would do against Hillary Clinton in the November election.

The Iowa caucus votes have made that question sound like ancient history, if not science fiction. The results of the Iowa caucus are only a small part of the story of this election year but their implications are significant.

One implication that reaches well beyond politics is that a state that is 95 percent white gave its biggest vote total to a black man.

More Iowa women voted for Obama than for Hillary. So much for the "race, class and gender" mantra among the intelligentsia.

So much also for the "inevitable" or "invincible" candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Perhaps the biggest story out of Iowa is that 71 percent of Democrats voted against Hillary.

The next biggest story is that no one in either party won a majority. It is still a wide-open race in both parties.

As for the Republicans, Mike Huckabee won by 8 percentage points in a state where 60 percent of the Republican voters were evangelicals.

However surprising his victory, it was not massive by any means and the large evangelical factor will not be there in most other states, even among Republican voters-- much less in the general election in November.

With all the media attention to the various political rivalries in both parties, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that all of this is ultimately about choosing a President of the United States.

The question of what kind of President each candidate would make is infinitely more important than all the "horse race" handicapping that dominates the media.

By far the best presentation as a candidate, among all the candidates in both parties, is that of Barack Obama. But if he actually believes even half of the irresponsible nonsense he talks, he would be an utter disaster in the White House.

Among the Democrats, the choice between John Edwards and Barack Obama depends on whether you prefer glib demagoguery in its plain vanilla form or spiced with a little style and color.

The choice between both of them and Hillary Clinton depends on whether you prefer male or female demagoguery.

Among the Republicans, there are misgivings about the track record of each of the candidates, especially those who have shown what Thorstein Veblen once called "a versatility of convictions."

There are fewer reasons for misgivings about Fred Thompson's track record in the Senate but more reason to be concerned about what his unfocussed and lackluster conduct of his campaign might portend for his performance in the White House.

When it comes to personal temperament, Governor Romney would rate the highest for his even keel, regardless of what events are swirling around him, with Rudolph Giuliani a close second.

Temperament is far more important for a President than for a candidate. A President has to be on an even keel 24/7, for four long years, despite crises that can break out anywhere in the world at any time.

John McCain trails the pack in the temperament department, with his volatile, arrogant, and abrasive know-it-all attitude. His track record in the Senate is full of the betrayals of Republican supporters that have been the party's biggest failing over the years and its Achilles heel politically.

The elder President Bush's betrayal of his "no new taxes" pledge was the classic example, but the current President Bush's attempt to get amnesty for illegal aliens, with Senator McCain's help, was more of the same.

President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon probably cost him the 1976 election and cost the country the disastrous Carter years.

McCain's betrayals include not only the amnesty bill but also the McCain-Feingold bill that violated the First Amendment for the illusion of "taking money out of politics." His back-door deal with Democrats on judicial nominations also pulled the rug out from under his party leaders in the Senate.

The White House is not the place for a loose cannon.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy.

TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2008; sowell; thomassowell
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1 posted on 01/07/2008 9:05:09 PM PST by jazusamo
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To: AbeKrieger; Alia; Amalie; American Quilter; arthurus; awelliott; Bahbah; bamahead; bboop; ...
Thomas Sowell

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2 posted on 01/07/2008 9:06:44 PM PST by jazusamo (
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To: jazusamo

Thomas Sowell might make a better President than some of the candidates.

3 posted on 01/07/2008 9:09:37 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: jazusamo
President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon probably cost him the 1976 election and cost the country the disastrous Carter years.

It wasn't the pardon. It was a combination of failing to acknowledge the Soviet domination of Poland, and the fact the many southerners wanted to vote for "one of their own" that year. Of course, the latter wised up four years later.

4 posted on 01/07/2008 9:11:45 PM PST by Clemenza (Ronald Reagan was a "Free Traitor", Like Me ;-))
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To: CharlesWayneCT

Thomas Sowell would make a better President than most of the candidates.

5 posted on 01/07/2008 9:13:47 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT

You’re absolutely right, IMO. Most of the candidates are scary.

6 posted on 01/07/2008 9:15:08 PM PST by jazusamo (
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To: jazusamo

It also means a complete repudiation of the Clinton years and and the recognition of his failure to defend this nation.

7 posted on 01/07/2008 9:15:25 PM PST by NoLibZone (Hillary 's loss is repudiation of the Clinton Years)
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To: Clemenza

Watergate had a cumulative effect in 1976.

Also, Reagan gave Ford a serious run in the primaries, and many in the GOP couldn’t enthusiastic support of an establishment guy like Ford.

8 posted on 01/07/2008 9:15:35 PM PST by Senator Goldwater
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To: CharlesWayneCT
Thomas Sowell might would make a better President than some of the candidates

Just a minor change, but you are right. I would not hesitate to vote for Dr. Sowell.

9 posted on 01/07/2008 9:16:04 PM PST by sand88
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To: Clemenza

I don’t know a specific reason but I sure remember the election and what a mess Jimmah made of our country in the ensuing four years.

10 posted on 01/07/2008 9:18:04 PM PST by jazusamo (
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To: Clemenza

And he was a freakin’ moderate, just like the class of ‘08. History repeating itself.

11 posted on 01/07/2008 9:22:39 PM PST by upsdriver (Remember: Paperdoll says," Vote for Duncan Hunter")
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To: Senator Goldwater

I should have added that my comment was made purely as a student of history (and second hand from relatives), as I was but 6 1/2 months old when Jimmuh was elected.

12 posted on 01/07/2008 9:26:07 PM PST by Clemenza (Ronald Reagan was a "Free Traitor", Like Me ;-))
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To: jazusamo; CharlesWayneCT

I’ve been reading Sowell’s book “Basic Economics” over the past few weeks and if you haven’t done so yet, I would suggest picking it up. Much of what Sowell explains is sort “oh, duh, how did I not see that all these years?” but if there’s a such thing as an indispensibe (sp) book, this is probably it.

Anyway, thought I’d pass that along.

13 posted on 01/07/2008 9:34:36 PM PST by GOP_Raider (Don't panic, folks. Rush Babies Will Save America.)
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To: sand88
Thomas Sowell would might make a better President than some any of the candidates.

14 posted on 01/07/2008 9:38:20 PM PST by DeFault User
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To: DuncanWaring

You beat me to it!

15 posted on 01/07/2008 9:38:35 PM PST by Keith Brown (Among the other evils being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised Machiavelli.)
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To: DuncanWaring
Oh, I wish I could pile on and say that Dr Sowell would make a better President than any of the candidates. Except if you read the following article, he apparently wants those of us who consider abortion to be national suicide to be patient (after 35 years and millions and millions of lost babies) because it's not a winning issue on the national level. I can't believe that he used Lincoln and slavery as an analogy without mentioning the God aweful carnage of the Civil War. It took killer angels with Mini balls to end slavery Dr. Sowell not patience, not "recognizing the limits of your power", not "coalition building" and not "political missionary work".

Matthew 18:10
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Coalition politics - Thomas Sowell -- ONE OF THE WISEST PROVISIONS of the Constitution of the United States forbids Congress from making any law -- any law -- about religion. After centuries of religious strife had torn Europe apart and spread death and destruction across the continent, those who wrote the Constitution wanted no part of that in America.

Pitting one religion against another is playing with dynamite. Yet that is what Senator John McCain has now resorted to, in a desperate attempt to salvage his failing candidacy. Attacking religious conservatives in Virginia, as a way of attracting Catholic votes in New York, may or may not work as a political strategy. But such divisiveness is a disservice to the country, as well as to McCain's own party, which needs the support of both in November.

National elections are won by coalitions. Moreover, the differences between religious conservatives and Roman Catholics are nowhere near as large as the differences within the political coalition that succeeded in electing Franklin D. Roosevelt to four consecutive terms in the White House.

The Roosevelt coalition ranged from white-supremacist bigots like Mississippi's Senator Theodore Bilbo to Harlem's militant civil rights activist Congressman Adam Clayton Powell. It ranged from a darling of the Communists like Congressman Vito Marcantonio to ultra-conservative Southerners who usually voted in Congress with the Republicans.

Yet the coalition paid off politically where it counted -- at the ballot box. The rule-or-ruin game was not allowed to destry FDR's coalition. But today that is the game which has been played both by John McCain and by some of the people he is attacking.

Coalition politics has never been the Republicans' strong suit. While they are in fact a coalition today -- ranging from the country club set to Bible belt Christians -- it is a very uneasy coalition. So long as the Dow Jones average is up and taxes are down, the country club set is happy. But some religious conservatives would rather lose with an anti-abortion plank than win without it. They liken the crusade against abortion to the crusade against slavery. But they fail to follow the parallel.

Abraham Lincoln did not run on a platform pledged to end slavery. If he had, he would never have been elected. The question is: Do you want symbol or substance?

Coalition politics works when everyone understands that nobody gets anything until the coalition wins power. An anti-abortion plank or an anti-abortion litmus test for candidates or judges will not save one baby's life. It is not a betrayal of principle to recognize the limits of your power.

On the contrary, it is a betrayal of your cause to make it more likely that the enemies of that cause will be elected because you consider it more important to force the coalition to have symbolic statements that make you feel good than to actually advance another step toward your ultimate goal.

Some Republicans who are supporting McCain are undoubtedly fed up with the single-issue people to whom abortion and prayer in school are the touchstone of their politics. So long as the American people are deeply divided over these issues, there is a lot of political missionary work that has yet to be done before either becomes a realistic possibility. That is the nature of a democracy. And there is no point losing presidential election after presidential election in the meantime.

The most successful Republican of this century, Ronald Reagan, made it an 11th commandment that Republicans should not attack each other. Although John McCain claims to be a Reagan Republican, he has led the way in violating the Gipper's 11th commandment as well as in fighting against Reaganesque tax cuts.

McCain's runaway rhetoric suggests a temper that could not be controlled, just as his ugly speech after losing the South Carolina did. A radio interviewer could not get McCain to talk about education because the Senator insisted on rambling on and on with seething comments about Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

This sounds like something more than just a political tactic. It sounds like the same kind of uncontrollable temper that people who have dealt with McCain in Washington have been talking about. It is hardly what you want in a President of the United States, whose sound judgment and finesse can mean the difference between peace and war.

16 posted on 01/07/2008 9:38:59 PM PST by Theophilus (Nothing can make Americans safer than to stop aborting them.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT

I am nostalgic for the days when a President needed to have “gravitas”. None of the candidates we have now seem to have it. I guess it’s a thing of the past in politics, I don’t see any political leaders in the UK that have it there, either. I guess that those days are gone.

17 posted on 01/07/2008 9:41:55 PM PST by mrsmel (Free Ramos and Compean! Duncan Hunter for President!)
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To: DeFault User

thanks for correcting my mistake! It’s late —lol. Sowell would win easily and be a great President.

18 posted on 01/07/2008 9:44:25 PM PST by sand88
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To: GOP_Raider

Thanks! I’ve seen others mention “Basic Economics” and say it’s a must read, I’m going to read it.

19 posted on 01/07/2008 9:44:55 PM PST by jazusamo (
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To: jazusamo

What’s not to love about this man? Great piece as always and I couldn’t agree with him more.

20 posted on 01/07/2008 10:07:35 PM PST by Gator113 (My short list..Fred, Hunter, Romney.)
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