Friday, January 18, 2008

An excellent reason why engineers aren't put in charge of the political system.

It's because engineers admire how Fred Thompson's laid-back campaign style makes efficient use of resources (embedded hyperlink removed):
I'm actually quite pleased with Fred Thompson's campaign style to date. It saddens me that so many others, who would be otherwise disposed to vote for him, are not. I'm saddened that they think that he needs to stoke a "fire in the belly," rather than simply employ the minimum resources needed to win the election. You would think that the warm-mongers would be pleased at Fred's lack of energy and want to vote for him, to help save the planet. As an engineer, I'm extremely impressed with his efficiency. As a result, it's very frustrating to know that, if everyone who would vote for him "if he only had a chance" would actually vote for him, that he'd have a chance. It's kind of the reverse of Yogi Berra's old saying that "no one goes downtown any more; it's too crowded."
The problem with the Fred Thompson campaign right now can be summed up with a single number: 1996. That's because Fred Thompson running against Hillary Clinton in the 2008 general election would be just as much of a bloodbath as Bob Dole running against Bill Clinton in the 1996 general election. It doesn't matter how conservative Thompson is, or how intelligent he is, or how thoughtful he is. If Fred and Hillary are the two major-party nominees, the Republicans might as well start filming the new set of viagra commercials now.

Of course, the author of this post anticipated that reaction, and in response, he accuses Republican primary voters of the same sort of lethargy (or faux-lethargy) that he supposedly admires in Fred Thompson. Left unsaid is that voters with "fire in their bellies" are generally the ones that win elections for politicians. There are exceptions to that rule, which is to say that certain presidental candidates have been selected by a sort of diffuse general acclaim instead of an active nationwide political campaign. Unfortunately, the exceptions involve candidates with a lot more than "unremarkable two-term Senator" at the top of their resumes.

He also argues, that being a do-nothing president isn't a bug; it's a feature:
I don't want a president, or a presidential candidate, who is frenetically scurrying around, appearing to be doing something, particularly two years before the swearing in. If he's really a conservative (as he claims to be, though I'm not necessarily), I'm perfectly happy with a president who, when demanded to do something, just stands there. And as a libertarian, opposed to big government, I'm happy to have a president who will think before acting, and who believes that the first instinct should not be to pass yet another federal law.
I'm not sure if the author seriously expects the Republican masses to happily march along with the Fred Thompson banner and it's proud slogan: "I'm just a bump on a log! Ham sandwich for president!".


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