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Opening Arguments

Never mind the cliff, what about the bluff?

Under the headline "Voters, are you bluffing?" George Will raises a valid and troubling point:

Now begins the final phase of this cognitive dissonance campaign. America’s 57th presidential election is the first devoted to calling the nation’s bluff. When Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan, Republicans undertook the perilous but commendable project of forcing voters to face the fact that they fervently hold flatly incompatible beliefs.

Twice as many Americans identify themselves as conservative as opposed to liberal. On Nov. 6 we will know if they mean it. If they are ideologically conservative but operationally liberal. If they talk like Jeffersonians but want to be governed by Hamiltonians. If their commitment to limited government is rhetorical or actual. If it is, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan suspected, a “civic religion, avowed but not constraining.”

There has to be a tipping point reached sometime when a critical mass of Americans are dependent on or at least used to government's benefits. If that has already been reached, it doesn't really matter what people say they believe. They will choose to keep getting the benefits.

The election this year is as clear a choice between more government and less government as we've had in a long time. (That doesn't mean Romney-Ryan will or can deiliver on their promise, but they do clearly articulate one side of the choice). I'm honestly not sure if Americans want to walk the conservative walk or if they're just talking the talk.


tim zank
Thu, 08/30/2012 - 2:22pm

"I'm honestly not sure if Americans want to walk the conservative walk or if they're just talking the talk."

It'll be interesting for sure, they can walk that "austerity" walk now voluntarily with some minor adjustments to their lives or they can vote the other way and it'll be foisted upon them in much larger fashion in the real near future...

If everybody hasn't figured out the math yet, God help us...

Thu, 08/30/2012 - 3:24pm

Until conservatives show a willingness (as some Libertarians have) to cut our bloated defense budget, I cannot take seriously their intention to balance the budget. Democrats are equally guilty here, by the way. We currently have 11 aircraft carriers, each with its own accompanying armada of support ships. Two more are being built. I cannot imagine what we need them for.

Harl Delos
Thu, 08/30/2012 - 10:44pm

We need to be ready to fight the last war.

We've had ICBMs foe 50 tears now.  I will concede that we need some Marines stationed at every rmbassy as a police force, but other than that, we could shut fown most foreigh mioitary bases.  We have them in something like 130 countries.  We built Cheyenne Mountain 50 years ago so we could close most of tthose bases, but never got around to closing them.

For example, if South Korea wants us to defend them, they need to pay us on a cost-plus basis, with American blood charged at %50,000 per pint.  If tthey don't pay, we shuy yhe, off, just like I&M shuts off power to folks that don't pay their light bills.