The further we get into the Republican presidential race, the more I'm struck by a sensation I've never experienced during primary season before: the feeling of being an observer at a spectator sport where I'm not truly invested in either of the teams.
That's one of the reasons I think the following, from today's edition of Jim Geraghty's "Morning Jolt" newsletter at NRO (subscribe here, if you haven't already -- it's mandatory reading), is so sound:
If you can't read any anecdote or account of your preferred guy and conclude, "Yeah, he was in the wrong there," or "Yeah, that's going to be a challenging weakness to overcome," well then, when you read or listen to or watch the news, you're not really trying to learn new information about what's going on. You're really just looking for more anecdotes and evidence to reconfirm what you already believe and know. (Confirmation bias, they call it.)
We all probably do this to some extent, but no matter how much you may believe that your guy rocks, the day will come when he doesn't rock. I thought what separated us from the "O-BA-MA" chanting cult of personality on the other side was that we didn't need to see our presidential candidates in messianic terms. For all the hoopla and the fancy plane and the band playing "Hail to the Chief," presidents are guys (and someday, gals) we hire to do a job under a four-year contract with a possibility of a four-year extension. We hope they make enough of the big calls right.
Representative government -- and life, in fact -- require a certain ability to see hard truths, mistakes, things that don't turn out the way you wanted. I'm starting to wonder if that quality is much rarer than I thought. I'd like to see all agricultural subsidies eliminated, but the votes aren't there (at least for now) and proposing the policy would make any candidate toxic and unelectable in big chunks of the country. I'd like to see a grade-A candidate in the GOP field, but instead we've got a bunch of B minuses, C pluses, and below.