By David Beilstein
THE more Mitt Romney talks, the more the Republican presidential candidate disappoints.
It is grist like this coming out of Romney’s Campaign and observed by conservative journalists that helped remove me from the premises of much of the so-called conservative movement in our day. While I never called myself Republican, I did (and still do) see the GOP as the likely vessel classical liberals will have to take across the turbulent channel of American politics.
If we have to ride on the ship we might as well take it over and repair it. For those pissed off at my reasoning, a simple test will suffice: what party did Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, and any other libertarian or classical liberal have electoral success in?
The Democratic Party? The Green Party? As independents?
That isn’t to say there aren’t deep and wide problems in the Republican Party. There are. Too many, to be sure. Today, Jonah Goldberg over at National Review posted this in response to reporting over videos showing Mitt Romney pontificating about the upcoming election.
Goldberg is preciously astute when he reasons,
“But even so, Romney’s remarks reinforce the overriding problem with his campaign: It is bloodlessly non-ideological. And that is by design. Stewart Stevens, Romney’s top strategist has made it abundantly clear he doesn’t much care about ideas or philosophy. That showed in his convention strategy and in Romney’s speech, which he apparently wrote. Responding to complaints about his stewardship, Stevens told Politico: “Politics is like sports. A lot of people have ideas, and there’s no right or wrong. You just have to chart a course, and stay on that course.” Not only is that not true of politics, as best I can tell it’s not even true of sports either.”
First, there is nothing wrong with ideology. It’s actually honest. It’s what the candidate believes — his principals concerning governing matters. Ideology is what guides a candidates decisions. The idea this would be stripped from Romney’s campaign is bad. The more one hears, then, about Stewart Stevens, Romney’s top campaign strategist, the more he appears a donkey.
Secondly, there is no way to fix and reform America’s fiscal illnesses without ideology. For it is ideological to observe the ills and come up with a solution to fix them. In other words, with unemployment being out of hand, tens of millions previously taking care of themselves and now on food stamps, and of trillions of dollars in debt, for Michelle Obama to say obesity is the biggest threat to our national security is ideological, agree with her or not.
Likewise, the entire premise of President Obama’s governing is ideological, and it’s antipode and antidote is also ideological. Progressive and classical liberal (conservative) governing philosophies are all ideological.
Bailing out Wall Street? Ideological.
Bailing out GM? Ideological.
Drill for oil, don’t drill? Ideological.
Entitlement reform? Ideological
The War on Terror? Ideological.
Democracy Project in the Middle East? Ideological.
Tax increases and reductions — yes, ideological.
Ideology is not the absence of principals — but the formulation and deductions based on political philosophical ideas. So a Republican (or Democratic) campaign dedicated to being ‘bloodlessly non-ideological’ is awfully close to being irrelevant to the issues the upcoming election must address. If it’s irrelevant, the problems will not be addressed. Now, Romney could be hiding his ideology in the campaign and then desires to be ideological conservative if elected.
Romney needs to forget percentages and voter demographics and run a campaign on free markets, free minds, private property, and slow but sure entitlement reform. He needs to underline the failure of Obama’s ideological premises to produce positive outcomes within reality. Obama’s policies have failed because they do not work. They cannot unleash private incentives to create and produce because they are not anchored in the ways human nature moves and grooves. Not in reality, anyway, because people and markets and behaviour are not witchcraft or laboratories.
It does not have to be complex. A simple shading and drawing, from Romney-Ryan on the stump, illustrating a government spending trillions it doesn’t have, printing money like a bandit, and paying people not to work … is not going to reduce unemployment, create wealth across the board, and give birth to productivity, thus creating millions and millions of jobs.
In November 1980, Reagan won 489 electoral votes being … ideological. He governed pretty consistently within those ideological parameters and it created the landscape for 25 years of diverse economic expansion, and, set the government on a pathway to surplus revenues and balanced budgets.
If that’s your ideology, and it’s 2012 with a viral infection of national malaise, you run an ideological campaign. There was one thing I feared about a beatable Democratic President and a Republican candidate this year … that the Republican nominee, for some inexplicable reason, would make things much harder — and complex — than they needed to be.
The bad news — Mitt Romney, so far, is doing just that.