Bookworm Room wonders whether the internecine attacks on the GOP candidates is really a good idea, a topic taken up by Joshuapundit. Michelle Malkin has been vicious in her attacks on Texas Governor Rick Perry for his mandating the gardasil vaccination of elementary school girls. Ron Paul supporters have begun a fishing expedition for sex partners of Rick Perry. And Ron Paul himself has been targeted by Republican establishment figures as Charles Krauthammer and Karl Rove.
Nowhere is the ancient Chinese proverb “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” more appropriate than politics. If the Republican-on-Republican attacks make a GOP supporter squeamish now, imagine how she is going to feel a year from now when the Obama Machine and its mainstream media attack dogs are running at full speed with an election 80 days away. Republicans need to vet their candidate in a way that the Democrats never did 4 years ago because this president is not going to become the first one term president in 20 years without a vicious, unfair – even possibly illegal – dirty fight. If the candidate can display his (or in the case Michelle Bachmann and possibly Sarah Palin, her) mettle through a vicious and dirty vetting process, then he or she will be able to survive the Summer and early Autumn of 2012 without submarining in the polls. Obama may be the weakest and thinnest skinned president we’ve seen in a generation, but the support apparatus cocooning him makes Nixon’s 1972 CREEP look like it was run by Tibetan monks by comparison. I don’t think that Republicans, emboldened by his low poll numbers and numerous political missteps, fully appreciate the ugliness that awaits the person receiving the Republican nomination next Summer. Better to forcibly inoculate the candidate – and the party – now when most American voters aren’t paying attention than a year from now when they will be.
Most of the attacks by the Republicans on each other aren’t that big a deal to me. I like Michelle Malkin a lot and value her opinion, but I think her fury over the gardasil vaccination is overblown. First Dr. Wife has told me that it’s effective and will prevent numerous deaths from cervical cancer. She would like to see boys get the vaccine too since they can be carriers of the HPV virus. Second I agree with Malkin’s assertion that the mandatory aspect of the vaccine is an affront to parental rights. But should I rule out Gov. Rick Perry simply on this one issue?
How about the topic of Evolution? Here is an exchange between Gov. Perry and a child being goaded by his mother, a Democrat using her child to make a point, in which Perry says that evolution is a theory that’s “way out there” and “has some gaps.”
Let me just mention that I have serious issues with parents using their children as proxies in a fight – especially a political one. I don’t like seeing children picketing abortion clinics just as I don’t like seeing them marching down the street demanding collective bargaining rights for teachers in Wisconsin. Maybe it’s because I’ve studied the Cultural Revolution in China where Mao used children as tools of terror against their parents; or perhaps it is because children will do anything to please an adult they trust, an instinct that has been exploited by the Taliban mullahs in the madrassas in Pakistan to turn their students into suicide bombers. I think it’s sick to use children in an adult fight and question the decency, morality and intelligence of anyone who does so. That woman thought she was being clever in making him admit his position on Evolution; all she did was point out what an ignorant and downright crappy parent she is.
I don’t believe in Evolution the same way I believe that the universe is far more complex than our minds can possibly understand. I believe in Evolution the same way I believe in gravity. I understand the theory behind it. I have read about and even personally performed experiments that prove it (breeding cichlids and assisting in wild chimpanzee research). But I’m not going to rule out Gov. Perry receiving my vote just because he doesn’t believe in it.
I might disagree with Perry on Evolution, gay marriage and a slew of other social issues. But I agree with him on economics, foreign policy and other topics that are far more important to me than whether or not the governor accepts that we are descended from a common ancestor of the apes or not. Walter Russell Mead points out why:
Let me put it this way. A GOP candidate might feel a need to please creationist voters and say a few nice things about intelligent design. That is politics as usual; it gins up the base and drive the opposition insane with fury and rage. No harm, really, and no foul.
But if that same politician then proposed to base federal health policy on a hunt for the historical Garden of Eden so that we could replace Medicare by feeding old people on fruit from the Tree of Life, he would have gone from quackery-as-usual to raving incompetence. True, the Tree of Life approach polls well in GOP focus groups: no cuts to Medicare benefits, massive tax savings, no death panels, Biblical values on display. Its only flaw is that there won’t be any magic free fruit that lets us live forever, and sooner or later people will notice that and be unhappy.
Perry might believe that it’s okay for Texas schools to teach Creationism (in the form of it’s politically correct form “intelligent design”) alongside Evolution. I completely disagree with this stance and if I were a parent of a student in Texas I would vociferously challenge the law in every forum possible. But I would not think that the governor was an idiot just because he and I disagreed on this one topic. Now if he wanted to ban all teaching and references to Evolution in Texas schools or stop biotech companies based in Texas performing work that was based on evolutionary principles, then I might think he had crossed the line, as Mead put it, into “raving incompetence.”
Bookworm Room states “(m)y current candidate of choice is the William Buckley candidate,” and I agree with her. Buckley believed that the Republicans should select the most conservative candidate who could win the general election, and as someone who believes the past 3 years of the Obama administration has been as disastrous as the Carter years 30 years ago – perhaps more so in the long run – I would vote for just about anyone the Republicans coughed out of their convention next year with one exception: Ron Paul – who I believe would be a complete disaster for the GOP and for America if he were elected.
So to agree with Tom Friedman, the Chinese are right – or rather their ancient proverb is. Let the Democrats take delight in the carnage now. Whoever survives the carnage now will be prepared for anything that the Democrats and their mainstream media propaganda wing lets fly a year from now. And may the best candidate win.