When I was a teenager, I remember being riveted by an intelligent design-vs.-evolution debate in which National Review legend William F. Buckley participated on the creationists' side. (You can view it at YouTube, in eight parts, here.)
At one point, someone on the evolution side asked Buckley (I'm quoting from memory), "Why are you over there? Is it because there have been Darwinists who supported socialism? If so, we can give you a different list."
Which brings me to the disaffected Republican David Frum. He writes on his blog today:
On the most urgent economic issue of the day—recovery from the Great Recession—the Republican consensus is seriously wrong.
It is wrong in its call for monetary tightening.
It is wrong to demand immediate debt reduction rather than wait until after the economy recovers.
It is wrong to deny that "we have a revenue problem."
It is wrong in worrying too much about (non-existent) inflation and disregarding the (very real) threat of a second slump into recession and deflation.
It is wrong to blame government regulation and (as yet unimposed) tax increases for the severity of the recession.
It is wrong to oppose job-creating infrastructure programs.
It is wrong to hesitate to provide unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other forms of income maintenance to the unemployed.
It is wrong to fetishize the exchange value of the dollar against other currencies.
It is wrong to believe that cuts in marginal tax rates will suffice to generate job growth in today's circumstance.
It is wrong to blame minor and marginal government policies like the Community Reinvestment Act for the financial crisis while ignoring the much more important role of government inaction to police overall levels of leverage within the financial system.
It is wrong to dismiss the Euro crisis as something remote from American concerns.
It is wrong to resist US cooperation with European authorities in organizing a work-out of the debt problems of the Eurozone countries.
This is, to put it mildly, an exhaustive and damning litany. But the actual point of Frum's blog post was that former Gov. Mitt Romney kinda-maybe-sorta doesn't agree with this consensus, and therefore offers the best hope (but only a "slender" hope!) that the Republican candidate will be on the right side of the "most urgent economic issue of the day."
Like the Darwinists who were befuddled at Bill Buckley, I have to ask: Dude, why are you over there? You just more or less said you're going to vote for the guy who might agree with you and not for the guy who definitely does.
As someone who's working through these issues myself, I'm being sincere here; I'm not playing "gotcha." This seems like an awfully risky bet.
David: What's the dealbreaker for you?
- Vote: Without Christie, Are You Satisfied with the GOP 2012 Field?
- See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP hopefuls.
- Ken Walsh's Washington: Romney Wins With Christie's 'No'