Politics lately seems touched by the surreal.
- The usual internecine warfare among Michigan Republicans is heating up again. Not content to fade gracefully from the spotlight, the DeVos family continues its genteel vendetta against Pete Hoekstra. Hoekstra, the former U.S. House member who ran unsuccessfully for Michigan’s GOP gubernatorial slot last year, is a solid performer with excellent constituent skills and a superior command of the things that matter. He presents the MI GOP’s best chance for defeating Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2012. Nevertheless, Clark Durant — a charter school man with a distant memory of federal service — has stepped in, and immediately the DeVos family and its acolytes, including Saul Anuzis and former Sen. Spence Abraham, duly lent their endorsement. Why? This is stupid. Michigan Republicans have a golden opportunity to unseat Stabenow, yet we play these little power games to the point that our field is weak before the general campaign begins. Michigan should be a shade more red than it is, and the incessant meddling of the DeVos family holds significant accountability for GOP under-performance over the last decade.
- Rick Perry has entered the race for the GOP presidential nod. The Texas governor is an underrated tactician with a good sense of how to talk to his base. Whatever initial discipline problems he may have will fade. Talk of “Texas fatigue” and the like will dissipate in all but the leftmost corners of the media during the Obama Economy. I was interested in Pawlenty, but could find a lot to like in Perry. Less of a fan of Bachmann — I don’t believe in the wild-eyed slurs against her, but she has yet to earn the major and wide-ranging experience necessary to fix the mess the next president will inherit from the current administration.
- I wonder if the average West Michigan voter realizes he ended up replacing the center-right Vern Ehlers with libertarian Justin Amash. If a really savvy Democrat pops up in the Third District, Amash could be in real trouble. This district isn’t well-suited to someone who has the temperament of someone who could be a cabinet official in the Ron Paul administration.
- The Kent County GOP continues to not engage in outreach. Why, I cannot say.
- I’m pleasantly surprised the House Republicans kept it together on the debt-ceiling issue. If the idea of a “spending problem, not a revenue problem” is worth more than a talking point, then holding firm against more spending and new tax hikes is bold. Let’s pray they remain steadfast.
- I’m finding less and less coherence from the Left. I read a lot of progressive material — FDL, Salon, TPM, etc. I don’t think they get that the answer to Obama’s weaknesses isn’t to double-down on FDR-style progressivism. The harder they push, the worse the pushback with the electorate, but their cognitive dissonance explains this as “we didn’t push hard enough.” Bizarre. Used to be, I encountered a lot of liberals who I didn’t agree with, but at least I grasped their reasoning. Nowadays, the reason is so riddled with logical error and ad hominem attacks that it’s less “argument” and more “polemic.” And that’s sad — even though I favor conservative positions, the Right does better when it must articulate positions against a mature and coherent ideological opponent.
The 2012 campaign season will be … interesting.