Friday, December 12, 2014

A Note on the Outstanding Heroes Running for President

Heard anything from the leading Presidential contenders about the torture report? From Hillary, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker? Me either.

Ted Cruz did make a statement in response to a question, but even he tried to play both sides, simultaneously denouncing the report as a partisan attack and saying that torture is wrong.

And the thing is, I don't even blame them for keeping quiet. The lesson of the past 25 years is that the way to become President is to avoid taking specific stands until the last possible moment, since anything you say will be twisted around and put in an attack ad against you, especially if (as frequently happens) the volatile electorate suddenly decides to hate a policy that never bothered them before. (If Jeb Bush runs he is going to spend all his time defending himself over Common Core, which was a conservative plan when he became one of its first prominent backers but is now Obamacore to many Republican voters.) Obama managed to convince a lot of American leftists that he was one of them, although all of his specific policies were and are moderate; he achieved this largely by being as vague as possible during the 2008 campaign. Hillary probably lost in 2008 because of one vote, the one she made in favor of the Iraq War.

All of the incentives are for ambitious politicians to stay away from controversy as much as possible, and obviously none of them want anything to do with this nightmare. But it sure would be nice if somebody would make a firm statement on the torture mess. I'm waiting to be impressed.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

There's not much reason for them to take a firm stand on the torture issue. They all know that torture is business as usual, and that it is going to keep being business as usual, and if they want to get into the White House they need to not piss off the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, and whoever else has a vested interest in sweeping the country's dirt under the carpet and who can pull strings and make life hell for a presidential candidate.

Sadly, none of the potentials are people of great character, with strong moral convictions (at least not ones without highly dubious foundations, anyway) who would feel compelled to speak out regardless of the risk to their personal campaigns purely because of ethical concerns. But I suppose that isn't terribly surprising, given they're all career politicians?