“Gentlemen, we are gathered here again today on a most momentous occasion. The Democratic Party is going to put a ticket in the field this year that is going to be victorious from the top to the bottom. ‘Aint I right now? Gentlemen, the Republican Party is rotten-always is rotten-always was rotten-and it always will be rotten. I would no more think of being a Republican than I would think of being a Socialist. You can’t be decent and be in the Republican Party.”
Frank A. Picard, “Before and After Taking: A Political Tragedy in Two Sides of the Fence” A One Act Play. Written in 1927.
Do I like Mitt Romney? Several times a day (on Facebook) I get asked that question. I probably like him better than many who may not vote for him. What I like about him however is not likely to endear him to his base. The current Romney is no crazy; he is most likely still the moderate that he was when he was Massachusetts Governor. In the 1960s his father was a member of what was then called the Rockefeller Republicans. If they still existed I suppose the son would be as well. It probably would not be a disaster were he to become President since the U.S. would still have divided government. Still it is not the same Republican Party that it was in the 1950s (no liberal bastion that of course).
I voted for George Romney in 1964 while at the same time voting for Lyndon Johnson. It was a bad year in Michigan for Democrats. The then Swanson administration was atrophied and somewhat corrupt. I thought that the split ticket was a good balance and Romney had chaired Michigan’s Constitutional Convention and wrote a good constitution. And I was pretty conservative in the early 1960s.
There is still a certain appeal for me to the libertarian economic theories that are batted around the Republican Party; attacks on what the British call the “nanny state.” However, the major trade off, to me is what many Republicans now fixate upon- the social nanny state, focusing on individual social behavior. Rather than social libertarians, many in the Republican base, essentially want state social controls on religious, moral and health related behavioral issues. “Don’t tread on me” should apply not just to the kitchen and the pocket book but all rooms of the house and all parts of the body. That is why, though I think the current administration has made many mistakes, and doesn’t play politics very well, the control of social behavior envisioned by todays Republican Party should scare all those who admire the Cato Institute or Ayn Rand. They and she were libertarians in both the economic and the social sense of the term. Let’s see. It will not be a dull Fall for political junkies.
The Obama administration better get off of the debate (and Big Bird). Romney has left it behind and the Obama campaign is in danger of prolonging the agony over it. Obama needs to get back what used to be called “the big Mo. If stories are correct that Obama and his followers did not think that Romney was worthy of debating him then, if he loses, this attitude will be the key to understanding that loss.
It isn’t over yet. The second debate will probably decide it however. The Obama people will have to take Romney seriously as a politician.