That’s because the current occupant of the White House is running for re-election on a record that makes failure into a virtue and fiscal restraint into a vice. Even though President Obama is supposed to be raising a billion dollars for his re-election campaign, a pie-eyed prostitute would probably give him a run for his money.
Unfortunately, the GOP is fresh out of drink-addled women of the evening. And those candidates who are stepping forward are hardly an improvement. For when it comes to fixing what ails us, there is a paucity of new ideas to deal with the deficit, jobs, jihadists, and the deadening hand of government that is strangling liberty and commerce.
This year’s crop of GOP candidates will basically be running on the same platform that every Republican nominee since Reagan has embraced. The formula is tried and true: cut taxes, cut spending, cut regulation, maintain a strong defense, and use government to ban abortion and gay marriage.
But can you cut taxes with trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.? Can you cut enough spending to make a dent in those deficits? Can you justify three quarters of a trillion dollars for defense? Deregulation as a theory is a fine thing, but which regs are to go? Which should stay?
The by-product of this agenda is supposed to be a growing economy that creates millions of jobs. But to achieve that, it is necessary to nominate a candidate who can not only talk a good game, but deliver in crunch time.
Can anyone really say that any of the declared or undeclared candidates have demonstrated the ability to make the hard, unpopular choices to get us out of this mess? Obama certainly didn’t have it in him. The hard choices the candidate promised on the campaign trail turned to mush once he got in office. Guantanamo, targeted stimulus, no more “Too Big to Fail” — on each of these choices and more, the president either punted or farmed out the task to Congress. Rather than choose spending priorities to address his massive deficits, the president has chosen to continue to spend money at a record rate. His “plan” to cut the deficit has less meat on it than a supermodel. He is not serious about deficit reduction and all of Washington knows it.
The next president — if he or she is a Republican — will not be granted the luxury of ignoring the problem. And the political unpopularity of doing what needs to be done probably means another one-term president. To fix what needs to be fixed will involve real pain. People who have depended on government for some things will have to get along without them. Any kind of entitlement reform will mean less money for some seniors to pay for their retirement and health care. Other sacrifices will no doubt be required, including raising taxes on somebody.
This is why the current crop of contenders worries me. And it probably is at the bottom of what worries Republicans who wish there was someone else in the race who could give people confidence that the next president can bring us back from the brink of fiscal Armageddon and navigate the ship of state to the safety of a welcoming harbor.
(Also watch what Alfonzo Rachel thinks about the 2012 GOP Presidential field.)