It's Monday morning. The United States
government has reached its $14.294 trillion debt ceiling, and
civilization-as-we-know-it may be coming to an end. About time.
In an effort to create a better, more
fiscally responsible civilization before we really have a debt
problem, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan says that any
deal to increase the ceiling will have to include spending cuts
that are larger than the amount of the debt-ceiling increase.
This tough but necessary plan allows the
government to avoid default on its current debt while preventing
greater debt. So let's wish Rep. Ryan well while moving on to
another, related subject today — the 2012 presidential election.
We hear some pundits and members of the media
bemoaning the fact that the Republicans haven't yet chosen a
viable candidate. Isn't that what primaries are for? It's early,
We hear complaints about the "weakness of the
field," and the longing for "someone else" — someone who has
made it clear he isn't running (Congressman Ryan, Sen. Marco
Rubio, Govs. Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal) or "a fresh new
face." (Like Obama's was? Have we learned nothing?!)
Others are mourning the early loss of their
favorites. Mike Huckabee announced that "all the factors say go,
but my heart says no." Thank you, Huckabee's heart. Donald Trump
says his heart is in the private sector. Sit, Trump's heart,
Huckabee's evangelical crusade forced Mitt
Romney out of the 2008 race, which he might have had a better
chance to win than John McCain. It's possible, though, that no
Republican could have prevailed over the media's Obama-worship;
some lessons are only learned the hard way.
Having proved they aren't racist, responsible
media and the majority of voters may now be looking for someone
who can deal with the end-of-civilization thing.
I still think Mitt Romney's the best choice
on economic issues, but his speech last week about Romneycare
was the exact wrong way to address that concern.
Most Romney-leaners I know, both the
politically involved and casual observers, saw clearly that he
needed to disown, if not the original "personal responsibility"
health care plan, at least its actual enactment, with its
still-uncontrolled costs, overused emergency rooms, and
freeloading patients from other states. He needed to say, "I'm
in the best position to have learned what not to do on health
If Mitt has to fear appearing a flip-flopper,
so does Newt Gingrich. Maybe it is just his naturally
professorial interest in trying out new ideas, but you never
know where he's coming from. He was right to say, as Romney did,
that universal coverage requires an individual mandate; but
calling Ryan's essential Medicare reform proposal "radical"
hurts the overall saving-civilization project.
Pundit Peggy Noonan observes that while
Gingrich appears over-the-hill to longtime voters, he's a "new
face" to young voters who weren't around during his heyday as
architect of the last major Washington revolution. Certainly,
Newt has retained a certain immaturity since that aborted
Conservatives who fantasize that a Republican
can win on right-wing social issues may choose among Herman
Cain, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum. Already announced
candidates Tom Miller and Vern Wuescher are the "not a
politician" candidates. Need more diversity? Fred Karger is a
gay Jewish Republican activist.
Never heard of some of these candidates? It's
I'm especially interested in two announced
libertarian candidates, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson; they'll add
value to the campaign season just by explaining libertarian
philosophy to Americans who, now facing the end-of-civilization
thing, might be open to new ideas.
My partner Chip Ford was Ron Paul's New
Hampshire driver during his 1988 presidential campaign; he has
long considered Paul "his" congressman, since he doesn't have
My friend John Cunningham, who moved to
Albuquerque in 1990, doesn't like politicians, but when I called
him about Gary Johnson, he enthusiastically endorsed the former
New Mexico governor.
Like Romney, Gov. Johnson had to deal with a
Democratic Legislature, also didn't raise taxes and supported
tax cuts. Cunningham said he's an honest, likable, unassuming,
self-made millionaire who used 750 vetoes to balance his state
budget during his eight years in office.
Those of us who are in love with Chris
Christie, New Jersey's governor, might like Gary Johnson for
some of the same reasons, primarily his authenticity. I watched
the recent Fox presidential debate to see him, but it was the
worst-run debate ever. Each candidate was asked a different
question, so there was no way to compare them. Johnson and
Herman Cain came across well, though.
Two others, Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and
former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, also have good taxpayer and
management reputations and are being urged to run. Some
activists are hoping to see Congressmen Allen West (Florida) and
Michele Bachmann (Minnesota) enter the race, though I'd rather
keep them in the House, and other potential candidates Lindsay
Graham and Jim DeMint, in the Senate.
Republicans controlled all three branches
before and let us down. But we know that the Democratic Party
won't solve the national debt problem.
We deficit hawks eagerly await the emergence
of a Republican candidate who might lead us to a better
So are a lot of liberals and public employee
unions. And in the past, they have usually gotten their way.