The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Burning Building

What a mess this presidential campaign has become. Glen Reynolds writes:
The primaries are over, it looks like it’s going to be Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, and a lot of people are unhappy.

“Don't let anyone steal that disgust from your heart," Michael Brendan Dougherty writes in The Week. "Don't let anyone tell you that the nearly uncontrollable urge to retch at the thought of this election is disproportionate, or somehow uncivil. When you contemplate the fate of your country in 2016, you have the right to be depressed, or even despairing.”

Well, as Adam Smith observed centuries ago, there is a lot of ruin in even a great nation. But it does feel like we’re putting that observation to the test right now.

Voter dislike for both Clinton and Trump is record-breaking. Now, being disliked doesn’t necessarily make you a bad candidate or a bad president. As writer Ashe Schow points out, the most-disliked candidate usually wins. And hey, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were both disliked by an awful lot of people.

Even so: It’s hard to look at Clinton and Trump and seriously believe that, out of a nation of more than 300 million people, these are the very best two people to lead the country.
This is one of those cases where the problem is the process. The seemingly never-ending quest for the presidency filters out good people or destroys them as interests with more money or more celebrity or more bombast rise to the top.

With tongue in cheek (I think) Reynolds suggests that maybe the president should be picked by national lottery of registered voters. After all, he writes, "How much worse could it be?" Hmmm.

On to the candidates ...

Donald Trump should NOT be President of the United States. On a daily basis the man demonstrates neither the temperament, the intelligence, the grasp of important issues, the depth of understanding, nor the political IQ or discipline to effectively lead this country. Trump is an extreme narcissist who looks at everything in the context of an inflated image of himself. Like Barack Obama, he views everyone who disagrees with him as an enemy that he can bully. Even though a few of his core ideas and principles have merit, he has succeeded in self-destructive behavior with words and actions that indicate a complete lack of self-awareness. He is not, as his many detractors assert, a racist or a bigot, but he is a fool.

Hillary Clinton should NOT be President of the United States. On a daily basis, the woman demonstrates a level of dishonesty that is so pervasive, it is breathtaking. She has built a 30-year career based on lies, obfuscation, and stonewalling, and leaving human wreckage in her wake, and she has done so with considerable success. She is corrupt. Her connections to the Clinton Foundation have enriched her (and her husband) in a ways that are at the very least unethical, but more probably criminal. She is currently under active FBI investigation by a Democrat administration. She is incompetent. Her most recent government job, as Secretary of State, hatched policy that led to a series of disastrous outcomes in the Middle east, Europe and Asia. She is not, as many of her admirers assert, an "experienced" government servant, unless by experience one means experience in the ability to enrich oneself at the expense of the taxpayers and the country.

Both the Republicans and the Democrats should be ashamed. The average independent voter should be infuriated that our choice for leadership leaves us with no viable options. In earlier blog posts I have argued that we all have a choice between the least-worst of our options, and I suppose that is still true. But that's a lot like saying that a man trapped on the 10th floor of a burning building can choose between being burned alive and plunging to his death.

If Clinton wins (something that is increasingly likely)—the country loses. If Trump were to miraculously win (something that is increasingly unlikely)—the country loses. Depressing.