Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Romney’s slogan: We can do better=less

Mitt Romney is like all the rest. His slogan—"We can do better"—has been used by generations of vanilla moderates trying to ride tigers.

He’s not weird; he’s typical.

In 1972, Progressive Conservatives in Canada used the same promise to market Robert Stanfield, a thoughtful red Tory leading a party energized by right-wingers who loathed their Liberal opponent, Pierre Trudeau.

Hate, however, is a dumb election message to use against a popular incumbent. "We can do better" permits you to look positive and seethe at the same time. (RLS very nearly won.)

Romney has a similar problem with his base and shows a similar shrewd ambition. Republicans will go along with "better," but in their hearts they'll hope for "less."

Americans, however, who have believed for two centuries that "better" means actually doing things—only more effectively—shouldn’t be too sure this time.

Romney can’t win a mandate to radically cut the federal government with such a honeyed slogan. Furthermore, his aides already wink: since no one will read the Republican platform, no one should worry that Romney will be governed by it.

Nevertheless, Romney is a corporate man and his latest corporation wants to dominate all three branches of the US government and progressively shrink their place in the US federation.

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