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From the Elephant's Mouth: Books by Republican Candidates

 
 
Thomas
 
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 04:44 pm
How do you evaluate a presidential candidate? When the last two presidents were candidates, some journalists focused on supposedly-revealing character traits, like Bush's folksy manners or Obama's charisma. They all misjudged what presidents the candidates would become. Other journalists, instead, read the candidates' writings; they often judged the candidates correctly. As the 2012 contestants start their engines, the time has come for taking their measure. So what have they written recently? What can we learn?

Assuming the Democrats will nominate Obama, my agenda for this thread is to read books by potential Republican nominees and report on them, with an eye on their likely goals as presidents, their likely methods, and the their view of how the world works.

At this point, four Republican candidates have made every pollster's top-five list: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckaby, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich. All of them have written extensively about national public affairs. Those are the ones whose books I'll read first. Beyond them, there are further candidates who have made some pollsters' top-five list but not others'. They are Ron Paul, Chris Christie, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, and Rick Perry. Of those, all but Christie and Bush have written programmatic books; I intend to review them later.

That being settled, please excuse me as I turn to reading Sarah Palin's America by Heart first. (I started it last year, but never got around to finishing it.) See you on the other side!
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OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 05:01 pm

I think that BOTH Drs. Paul are possible candidates.
I admire them both.





David
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 05:26 pm
@Thomas,
Initial impressions of Dubya was right, he is a dummkopf.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 06:04 pm
@talk72000,
That's not really the point---there were plenty of commenters who called him a dummkopf, even though it didn't make a good fit with whatever hard evidence was available. (Bush's and Gore's SAT scores, for example, were comparably bad.) The point is that you could tell, even in 2000, that the budget arithmetic behind his tax reform plan was fiction. That was a specific, factual argument about him, one that didn't depend on amateur psychology about his person. Amateur psychology is notoriously easy to corrupt with partisan passion.

I am turning to the candidates' books because I'm interested in specific information on their goals, worldview, and methods. I'm not interested in marketeer-talk about Sarah Palin's soccer-mom persona, nor in cheap magic-underwear jibes about Mitt Romney. The candidates America ends up selecting matter, even if they belong to the opposite party. The way we evaluate them needs to match that.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 06:11 pm
@Thomas,
Will there be a test?
I bought my wife a copy of GOING ROUGE.


          http://i.huffpost.com/gen/113586/thumbs/s-PALIN-MEMOIRS-large.jpg
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 06:16 pm
@farmerman,
Farmerman wrote:
Will there be a test?

Yes, though it's commonly known as "a presidential election". This is a test, not just for the candidates' prowess at getting themselves elected, but also for the American citizens' prowess at electing competent office holders.

Farmerman wrote:
I bought my wife a copy of GOING ROUGE.

Interesting. What does she think?
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 06:19 pm
Gawd, the sacrifices you are willing to make to be informed boggle the mind, Thomas. I would rather be snowed in at Logan for a month, waiting for an uncancelled flight, than sit and actually have to read those four books.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Feb, 2011 06:51 pm
@MontereyJack,
Truth be told, it's a project that causes me a good deal of procrastination. Shaming myself out of was one of my hidden motives for starting this thread.
0 Replies
 
 

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