Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Letter to Thomas Sowell

Dear Dr. Sowell:

In your Primary Dilemmas column (1/18/08), I couldn't help but notice that there were two candidates whose names were never mentioned -- and to me these candidates seem to cause the greatest dilemmas for conservatives.

You never mentioned John McCain, and his win in New Hampshire has created quite a dilemma. He has been strong on winning the war in Iraq, but is weak on almost everything else. In a Random Thoughts column, you once lamented the idea of a McCain – Clinton presidential election, saying you wouldn’t know whether to vote independent or move to Australia. Maybe the best way to keep him out of the general election is to not talk about him, in which case the omission was a good one.

What interests me more is that you did not mention Ron Paul, in fact, to my knowledge you have never mentioned Ron Paul in a column. Ron Paul is strong on all the fiscal and economic policies that classic liberals support, and to that end it seems Hayek and Von Mises would have supported him (Bastiat certainly would have) – it is also the reason he will never be president. True, he is no Reagan on foreign policy, but he does acknowledge that terrorism is a different kind of threat that Soviet Russia, and his foreign policy is at least based on reason (though possibly flawed) instead of empty rhetoric.

Have you not mentioned Ron Paul because we can only “choose from the available options” and you do not want to alienate the electorate when he doesn’t get the nomination? Or is there something else? The Republicans have no front runner because they have no strong candidates, at least Ron Paul is putting thought back into the political process. Maybe conceding ‘08 to support a true limited government candidate, gaining ground in the ideological discourse, and making a stronger run in ’12 would be the Republican’s best play…if an Barak or Hillary America could survive that long.

Thank you for your time,
Josh Knox
George Mason ‘10


Pete Abbate said...

I'd agree that it's a travesty to leave John McCain out of the discussion of major Republican candidates - at this point he's too realistic to exclude. For someone who really doesn't want McCain in the general election, the best bet is probably to hope that the stress of campaigning takes its toll on his 71 year old body and he's forced out.

I tend to agree with Arnold Kling, that Ron Paul is most comparable to Ross Perot. Of course, I've been wrong before.

jpk said...

A credible candidate needs organization and ideas. If you want John Paul to "wear big girl panties" then stuff his envelopes and ring doorbells for him.
Candidates have two legs, organization and ideas. That is why John Paul could be called "Stumpy"!

jpk said...

"The Republicans have no front runner because they have no strong candidates."

If there was a "strong candidate" the party would be open to claims of domination and heavy handedness. This is the "one brief shining moment" in America's four year political cycle where political candidates can be examined, where candidates climb into a little bubbles and try to make it to the surface.

Now is not the time to "conclude", now is the time to evaluate.

Josh Knox said...

Stuffing envelopes and ringing doorbells is overrated. If that was the meat of winning elections, then why isn't Watchtower Magazine more highly circulated? And I object to the idea that Ron Paul has no ideas or organization: Cutting government spending is a great idea, but it won’t win because it means no more government goodies. And by the way, last Monday Ron Paul’s organization raised 1.85 million dollars, how’s that for credibility?

Josh Knox said...

It is not necessarily a response to my letter, but I would like to point out that Thomas Sowell’s latest column ,is about why John McCain is not fit to be president.

Pete Abbate said...

Josh - good link with the McCain article. Age is definitely a factor with Presidents and I think it will ultimately keep McCain out of office, but you never know, I suppose.

And as far as primary season not being the time to conclude, well, that's utter nonsense. What were voters in Iowa doing at the caucuses? Seems to me their vote was a conclusion of which candidate they wanted on the ballot. Voters in New Hampshire, Michigan, Wyoming, Nevada, and South Carolina have also concluded already. Evaluating takes place constantly throughout a Presidential term, but in January of primary season, most of the evaluation needs to be done. Voting is the ultimate conclusion, and this is the time to conclude, not evaluate.

JPK said...

On January 27, Josh asked "why isn't Watchtower Magazine more highly circulated?" The answer is simple. The foot soldiers are there, but the ideas are vapor. It takes TWO legs to run a good race.

Showing up on the voter's doorstep is not the first thing you do for a candidate, but it is the last!

Paul collects $1.85 million. Not a lot of that is going to his troops. He is rolling most of that into media and bumper stickers, which is why people call him "stumpy".

larry E. said...

John McCain is too old, thinks slow and has hair trigger judgment, witness his threat to throw Russia out of G8 over the Georgia event, likely perpetrated by his lobyist foreign policy advisor Randy S. He has sold out to the far right, which is the reason Sowell likes him.

Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant. ~Fredrich Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty