Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why Obama would be preferable to Gingrich

From Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek:

Four more years of Obama in the Oval Office would be better, in my view, than four years of Gingrich there: each man is mad for power; each man’s Promethean opinion of himself is quite the opposite of what a realistic self-opinion would be; each man is a font of economic idiocy; and each man’s principles are such that each would – recalling Mencken’s description of FDR – fatten up a crew of missionaries on the White House lawn for slaughter if he thought that endorsing cannibalism would get him more votes. Yet the countless nutty and destructive policies that Pres. Gingrich would likely implement would inevitably be described by our crack mainstream press as “laissez faire” – thus creating more public misunderstanding. (Of course, four more years of Obama in the White House might also be better than four years of Romney there….)

Of course when Mencken made his crack about presidents trying to get the cannibal vote, he had no idea what would happen to the national mindset in another 75 years....  See below. 

From The Occupy Wall Street Protests. 


CenTexTim said...

Maybe I'm missing something, but the only reason I can find advanced by Boudreaux for preferring obama over Newt is that the mainstream press would mangle the meaning of “laissez faire.” I'm not advocating one over the other (in this comment), just trying to understand his logic.)

IMO that disadvantage would be outweighed by the entertainment value of watching the media meltdown if Newt gets elected.

Nick Rowe said...

I missed it too.

The comparisons of Obama with any Republican are batty. Any Republican is going to make at least some gestures toward reducing the deficit, repealing Obamacare, and appointing conservatives. With Republicans holding the House and Senate, all we need is someone who knows how to sign their name and already he will outperform Obama. Anything more than that is gravy. But with either Romney or Gingrich we will get much better. Either will restore dignity to the office and remove every socialist academic and apparatchik from cabinet positions. Maybe they won't get rid of any departments, but they will control them. No more Solyndras or Fast and Furious. No more phony deportation efforts. Holder, Solis, Napolitano, Clinton, Chiu, Shinseki, Bryson, Sebelius, Donovan, Geithner, Duncan, Bernanke all gone.

The next two or three Supreme Court picks are the most important part of this election. Cabinet secretaries are a distant second. US attorneys is an also ran. Everything else is background noise.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Don't look at the Newt of the last 6 months (although that's interesting). Look at the last 20 years:

"I am for people, individuals—exactly like automobile insurance—individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance. And I am prepared to vote for a voucher system which will give individuals, on a sliding scale, a government subsidy so we insure that everyone as individuals have health insurance."

"Our federal government should take the lead on this vital issue, an effort that may require strong incentives to encourage enterprise and drive the formation of private-public economic partnerships."

One can go quote-mining and come up with all sorts of socialist-statist blather from Newt.
And then there's his lobbying. Yes, lobbying. Not "consulting", but lobbying.
Nick, Newt Gingrich got in bed with Freddie Mac and helped them cause the housing crisis. He was paid 1.5 million or so for his efforts.
He made a Anthropogenic Global Warming video with Pelosi, and co-sponsored a 1989 climate change bill with her.

When time permits, go here. This is why Obama would be preferable to Newt, the countless "nutty and destructive" policies that Boudreaux was talking about:


One other thing....I don't care if Newt has stacked up more ex-wives than all other presidents COMBINED. That's Newt's business. But I also don't care if gays and lesbians marry. That's their business, and Newt wants to make it his.
He's talked about aiming lasers at North Korea.

And on and on and on.

CenTexTim said...

Granted, Newt is the very thing he claims not to be - a lifelong D.C. establishment insider with delusions of grandeur. Romney is Newt on a smaller scale, without the delusions. But either is preferable to obama for at least some of the reasons Nick mentioned, especially the SCOTUS point.

Obama has his own nutty and destructive policies, including governing by fiat, arming drug cartels, and allowing religious fanatics to develop nuclear weapons, among others (Iran with nukes scares me more than Cash for Clunkers).

And on and on and on.

Nick Rowe said...

WS, I'm not really arguing against you on any particular aspect of Newt's policy ideas. I'm arguing that they don't mean much in the grand scheme. They either won't happen or we can't stop them.

Our presidents aren't dictators. They need a willing Congress to enact legislation they really want. If a Republican Congress hands Newt a bill that you and I disagree with, and he signs it, there's really nothing we can do about it. I don't think those bills will reach his desk if we communicate with our Congress critters. Look at how efffectively SOPA and PIPA got slammed.

My point is that what really matters for this next presidency are appointments. Executive orders, vetoed, appointments, and fiat powers of cabinet officials are the main goals. Favorable legislation comes second. Obama isn't going to sign anything coming from the next Congress that we approve of.

As for health care subsidies, we might live in a country that does want to give some sort of minimal insurance to people. Guys like Newt try to satisfy popular wants with proposals that are somewhat effective but less intrusive than, say, nationalized health care. Sometimes if we don't give, people will take. Obama, Pelosi, and Reid did a lot of taking. They lost the House because they misinterpreted their mandate and overreached. I think the backlash against Obamacare has been extraordinary.

I'm not a huge fan of Romney and I'm less of a fan of Newt. But we will be in much better shape with Obama out of office. It's easier to hold Mitt or Newt to their campaign words than to change Obama's ideology.

I don't expect any libertarian to like any of these misfit toys. I'm just saying that if you focus on electoral consequences, there is a clear choice between Obama and his opponents.